19 February 2011 | Davor_Blazevic_1959
A noteworthy predecessor to the 'Bridget Jones' franchise
Zagrebian lass tefica has been struggling with overweight and in relationships with men long before arrival of Bridget Jones.
tefica Cvek is a typist, plump and slightly depressive, and inexperienced when it comes to men. And that is the most important 'territory', at least according to her friend Marijana, who considers herself an expert for the subject, providing an abundance of advices and tips. Marijana upholds that having blokes is the most important thing in life, and that tefica simply lacks sex appeal. On the other side, tefica is constantly getting advices from her old aunt, whom she lives with. Aunt descends from a provincial town in neighbouring Bosnia, having rather different life philosophy, henceforth delivering her advices through wise and often peculiar anecdotes from her homeland.
Meanwhile, tefica fights her sadness and suppresses her grief resorting to excessive eating and hopes that all her problems will be over as soon as she meets the right man. All her girlfriends are already in love; Ela is getting married for the fourth time, even Anuka has found a soul mate.
Will tefica remain single, or there is a happy end for her, so common in 'chick flicks'? Story about tefica came into existence long before nowadays popular 'chick lit' novels and their principal heroines. Dubravka Ugreić's 1981 novel was titled tefica Cvek in the Jaws of Life, a.k.a. Patchwork Novel. And a patchwork it is indeed. Namely, authoress trips between the stereotypes of popular romance novels and standards of the genre, and plays with its characters. However, this novel is by no means a typical romance novel. Ugreić skillfully points out all the problems with such novels, comparing her writing with the work of a seamstress; cuts out, rummages, writes additions, inserts citations, short folk proverbs, considers her own writing process...
Based on this very popular novel, a screenplay for the movie U raljama ivota (1984) (In the Jaws of Life) was co-written by its director Rajko Grlić and Dubravka Ugreić. And, while in the novel authoress is struggling with tefica's character, in the movie her role was taken by directress Dunja, who is shooting a TV series about tefica. Vitomira Lončar in the leading role of tefica meets three men, all played by among the most popular Yugoslavian actors of the era: Bata ivojinović, Miki Manojlović and Rade erbedija.
However, tefica has not found happiness with any of the three, and you will have to find yourself why not? (Review translated from Kristina G.'s Croatian language posting in her theatre web log teatar.hr/author/kristina/)