The exhilarating experimental film Microcassette is placed on top of a garbage pile on a fantasy island
Among the rubbish heaps of a large landfill on an imaginary Croatian island, a middle-aged man named Zoki finds a microcassette. Inexplicably intrigued by his discovery, he decides to find out who may have made the recording and for what purpose, using the description of the microcassette label as the only clue.
Directed and released by Croatian artists Igor Bezinović and Ivana Pipal in 2020, Microcassette is a tribute to chance and imagination. Against the backdrop of the beautiful Adriatic Sea, Zoki’s chance discovery – along with his inexplicable obsession with “the smallest tape he’s ever seen” – takes him on a quest to find its owner. Using objects and people who also seem to miraculously appear in the landfill, Zoki begins to piece together a cartoonish picture of the life and loves of this mysterious person. “Hello, I am looking for a person named Petra. In Washington. She is from Croatia. I know she doesn’t like squid and she doesn’t know who Leonard Cohen is, but whatever, ”he said in one scene, speaking from a phone booth. Yet the viewer is keenly aware that the story he is building probably never happened. Microcassette opens with the warning line: “Not all is true in this story.” Even the existence of the landfill in which the story takes place remains uncertain.
Half documentary, half stop motion, half animation and resolutely experimental, Microcassettes gender is difficult to pin down; it is perhaps best described as an exhilarating journey of the imagination, to the rousing music of a Balkan brass band. For viewers, it’s unclear what the movie is about – is it setting up a fantasy world, poking fun at viewers’ perceptions of reality, or hiding a deeper message? Ultimately, such questions no longer matter. The mastery of the film lies in the fact that it manages, in almost 20 minutes, to hook the audience on a mission where finding the owner of the microcassette is not as important as continuing to explore all the places where clues can potentially lead us.
Selected for Thessaloniki Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, and others, Microcassette will now have its international premiere online at the Calvert Journal Film Festival on October 28-29. Discover the full program and get your tickets here.