Archive of films These Are the Rules / Takva su pravila

Croatia / France / Serbia / North Macedonia
2014, 78 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2015

The story of parents, simple people, whose adolescent son is critically injured in a street fight. Invoking a tragedy that goes beyond their understanding, the film bears witness to the confrontation of the new age with the mentality of a generation accustomed to being able to rely on apparent order and justice. A Croatian drama on the illusory nature of happiness and security.


Seventeen-year-old Tomica comes home one day after being beaten up by his classmates during the night, but he stubbornly refuses to give a reason for the scuffle. His dismayed parents, who until now had respected his privacy, realise that they don’t know their son at all. Their despair mounts as they witness the tragic consequences of his injuries. As law-abiding citizens, they now suddenly discover that they will never obtain justice themselves. Their fearful attempts to find out the truth and effect a punishment unsettle the delicate psychology of defenceless, honourable people who are facing injustice for the first time in their lives. The urgency of the story stems not only from the fact that it is inspired by real events, but also from the insistent depersonalised procedures of meaningless transcripts and medical reports which categorise human life in the eyes of the authorities. Thanks to the understated performances by all the actors, this social drama of an ordinary community from the Zagreb suburbs leaves broad scope for its emotional impact, which, however, is certainly not a calculated gesture on the director’s part.

Kamila Dolotina

About the director

Ognjen Sviličić

Ognjen Sviličić (b. 1971, Split, Yugoslavia) is sometimes called the “Mabuse of Croatian Cinema,” following his series of successful screenplays for other directors back home. Since his directorial debut in 1999 his work has focused on the stories of young people who represent the new spirit of the times. Their portraits are set in sharp contrast to the lives and attitudes of their parents, who try to help them any way they can, yet, unfamiliar with the modern conventions, they are left to flounder. These circumstances might apply to the stories behind the scripts for Sorry for Kung Fu (Oprosti za kung fu, 2004) and These Are the Rules (Takva su pravila, 2014), screened at the Berlin and Venice IFFs. Probably Sviličić’s best known film is a noteworthy drama about the selfless relationship between father and son, Armin (2007), which won Best Film in Karlovy Vary’s East of the West section.


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About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Ognjen Sviličić
Screenplay: Ognjen Sviličić
Dir. of Photography: Crystel Fournier
Editor: Atanas Georgiev, Nicolas d'Hallui
Art Director: Ivan Veljača
Producer: Janja Kralj
Production: Maxima Film, KinoElektron
Coproduction: Biberche Productions, Trice Films, HRT
Cast: Emir Hadzihafizbegović, Jasna Žalica, Hrvoje Vladisavljević
Sales: Urban Distribution International


Ognjen Sviličić

Catherine Ann Berger

Film Institution Rep.


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