Coming home is a common theme in dramatic films. Though, common only means that the onus is on filmmakers to find some fresh take on the narrative that sets itself from the long list of similar stories. Ivana Mladenović’s Ivana The Terrible is a truly unique and somewhat odd take on the story.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I believe films should stand on their own, and any behind-the-scene information only clouds a pure review. What Ivana Mladenović has done is crazy and weirdly works. Inspired by her experiences, Mladenović plays herself in the titular role of Ivana and her journey returning to her hometown of Kladovo, Serbia. She returns after moving to Romania for school and filming her first feature film.
“Returning home only brings up the reasons she left in the first place. Ivana’s unceasing fighting with her parents…”
Being away has taken a physical and emotional toll on Ivana as she is suffering from chronic pain and headaches. Every doctor she’s seen, tells her she’s under too much stress, but Ivana believes its some rare disease or disorder, that they refuse to test or consider. Ivana returns home for a special ceremony honoring the physical and metaphorical bridge that represents the special bond between Romania and Serbia during the pre- and post-Soviet era. Ivana has been appointed a spokesperson for Kladovo.
Returning home only brings up the reasons she left in the first place. Ivana’s unceasing fighting with her parents picks up where it left off years ago. She spends a great deal of her time with her ex-boyfriend and his pop-star girlfriend (who’ll perform at the event’s festival), and to heap on the stress, details of Ivana’s relationship with a much younger man only starts gossip mill to run at high speed. By the end, Ivana is pushed to her limits from conflict after conflict with everyone she meets. The problem is that Ivana seems to be the only one affected by or cares about the disputes.
"…the actors playing family, friends, ex-boyfriends, and city officials are her actual family, friends, ex-boyfriends, and city officials."