So I’m watching a preview for a Croatian movie called Sto minuta Slave, or 100 Minutes of Glory, about the life of painter Slava Raškaj. (Her last name’s pronounced something like Rash-key. Her first name also means “glory”, so the title of the film is a pun.)
Raškaj is known as the greatest watercolorist in Croatian art. Deaf since birth, she studied art in Vienna (Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the time) and painted her most famous watercolors in the Botanical Gardens in Zagreb. There are a couple of them in the Modern Art Gallery in Zagreb. Other than this, there is damn little material available about her or her life.
I was just at the Gardens a week or two ago myself and felt the longing to paint there also. It’s an amazing little oasis of peace in the middle of a crowded city.
Slava Raškaj only lived to be 29, and toward the end of her life she suffered from depression. The depiction of which, judging by the preview of the film, seems problematic. I hate the “crazy bitch” meme in movies, particularly when the “crazy bitch” in question is shown doing things like running naked down a hallway to show how crazy she is, naturally, and also to let the male gaze take a good look at her ass.
How many movies can you remember where they show some young, attractive dude with mental health issues running around naked and screaming, with his ass swaying tantalizingly in the air?
Raškaj’s relationship with some much older art-dude is all sexed up and made the focus of the film, because we just can’t have a biography about a ladypainter without showing how hot and sexy she was! And how hot ‘n’ sexy it is to be mentally ill!
Men continue to be as ugly as they want, without sacrificing their right to rich, fulfilling lives. When they happen to suffer from depression, it’s never depicted in film in a sexually titillating way. That would be sick, right? Craziness is not sexy unless it afflicts a young, attractive woman and makes her easier prey.
Still debating with myself whether to watch this. Despite the misogynist memes in it, it’s likely to be better than anything from Hollywood, as Croatian films are generally high quality.
Here’s the preview for Sto minuta Slave: