World premiere of Dalibor Matanić’s The Dawn

Dalibor Matanić’s latest film The Dawn had its world premiere last night at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Black Nights, or PÖFF, was held in Estonia’s capital, 13th – 29th Nov, and it is one of the 15 A-list festivals in the world. 

The Dawn is the first Croatian fiction feature to screen in the main international competition of this prestigious festival. 

Presenting the film in Tallinn was Tihana Lazović, who appears in the role of Ika, a woman shattered by family tragedy and caught up in the whirlwind of galloping neo-Nazism.

“I am incredibly pleased that I was able to overcome all the obstacles and make it to Black Nights for the world premiere of the second film in Dalibor’s ‘The Sun Trilogy’. The festival is taking place under very strict epidemiological measures, but it is still taking place before a live audience. We filmmakers do not give in so easily,” said Tihana Lazović after the premiere, adding “The experience of making The Dawn was similar to the making of The High Sun, the kind of experience actors cherish the most – having the director allow you the freedom and space to develop the character.”   

The Dawn, awaiting its Croatian premiere, is set in a dark social context of the near future. It is the second instalment in Matanić’s ‘The Sun Trilogy’ (The High Sun, The Dawn and Sunset) – the trilogy against fascism. On the trail of The High Sun, also directed and written by Dalibor Matanić, The Dawn continues to juxtapose the most noble and the basest of human impulses.     

Following The Dawn’s world premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Screendaily and Cineuropa have published the first reviews of the film. Drawing comparisons between The High Sun and The Dawn, Screendaily’s Wendy Ide remarks: “While both films take as an inspiration the divisions resulting from the Balkan conflict, The Dawn’s approach is rather more enigmatic. While this picture might require a bit of chewing over and digesting in order to fully understand the message, the artistry of the filmmaking is not in question,” predicting it a fruitful life on the festival circuit. 

Analysing The Dawn as the second part of Matanić’s ‘The Sun Trilogy’, Cineuropa, observes: “Contrary to the clear coding of ‘us’ and ‘them’ along ethnic lines in The High Sun, Matanić here goes for more complicated and abstract divisions, filling his film with a dense atmosphere and heavy-hitting symbolism.” Praising the film’s acting performances, camera and editing, critic Marko Stojiljković concludes, “The Dawn is an outstanding work of cinema.”

The film is a Kinorama, Ascent Film and RAI Cinema production, with Ankica Jurić Tilić as producer and Andrea Paris, Matteo Rovere and Ines Vasiljević acting as co-producers. 

Starring in the film is Krešimir Mikić as Matija, his wife Ika is played by Tihana Lazović, while Lara Vladović and Maks Kleončić appear in the roles of their children.

Director of photography is Marko Brdar, Tomislav Pavlic is credited with editing, while the music was composed by Alen Sinkauz and Nenad Sinkauz

The film was created with the support of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, MiBACT – DGC, RAI Cinema, Eurimages, Croatian Radiotelevision, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Commission and the Lazio region. 

More information about the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival is available on the festival’s official website

Cover photograph: Tihana Lazović at The Dawn world premiere

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