Mar 30, 2020

Smrt majke Jugovića / Two Grim Ravens (Mihajlo Dragaš, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Borrowing motifs from the Serbian epic poem Smrt majke Jugovića (lit. The Death of the Mother of Jugovitch), Mihajlo Dragaš delivers a hyper-stylized animated short which bridges the gap between tradition and modernity with great ease. Meticulous in its execution, Two Grim Ravens boasts extraordinarily rendered imagery whose bleakness, grittiness and mythological grandeur are befitting of the (heartbreaking) written source.

The titular heroine's unimaginable pain and sorrow caused by the death of her nine sons and their father, but suppressed deep within her, behind the deceptive facade of a strong and stoic woman, are depicted as a surreal emotional journey comparable to a heavy dream. A wordless affair (apart from the opening epigraph), this tragic fantasy or rather, a harrowing ode to all mothers struggling with the loss of their children relies on the power of stark visuals which blend the designs inspired by the medieval Orthodox icons with desaturated color palette and dense shadows of pointillist-like quality. Perfectly complementing them and establishing the immersive, melancholic atmosphere is the solemn, evocative score composed by the author himself. 

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