Twelve-year-old Bruno, the first-person narrator of Möderndorfer’s youth novel Like in a Film, is a clever lad whose life is unsettled by adolescent trials stemming not least from the primitive bullying of his classmates. The novel contains titled chapters, and these descriptive titles for the most part announce the main conflict of each chapter. The time frame is narrowed down to a few intensive months in which Bruno essentially grows up. Told through Bruno’s perspective, the novel relates his feelings and his observations in his new and unexpected circumstances. For example, he soon notices that something is terribly wrong at home. Mom is increasingly prone to suspicion and turned inward, while Dad is increasingly away from home for no explained reason.
Because Bruno has a rich imagination – although he already has an inkling of the reasons for the chaotic family situation – he thinks up darkly humorous scenes in which his family members appear as caricatured film heroes. The internet also helps him, serving as an immense source of information and the only true connection to the sympathy of his classmate Tina. When his family breaks up, Bruno’s father takes him to live with the bizarre but friendly acquaintance Max, who, along with a cow named Catherine the Great and some chickens, lives in a colourful house in the woods. Bruno’s life – in a world without the internet and television, but with many books and plenty of life wisdom – drastically changes. These new adult relationships also affect Bruno’s life, especially the truth about his father, a truth adults had previously concealed from him. Like in a Film is a novel about taking leave of childhood and about growing up; were it not for nature, books, paintings and pigs, it might well be a tragic novel.
Edited by: Tanja Petrič
Afterword: Majda Travnik Vode, Aljoša Harlamov, Gabriela Babnik
Replete with humour, bitter truths and subtle self-reflections about modern time and space, this suspenseful and smooth-flowing story ultimately offers a surprising denouement with Bruno’s, but also with the reader’s, new, truer view of the world.
From the justification for the “Desetnica” Award
The way the author has mastered his material or, put more simply, the art of storytelling is marvellous. Like in a Film is a veritable demonstration of a decades-long writing career. All components of the text fit smoothly together and mutually support each other – fabula, the narrative thread, the style, everything is in harmony and in tune, which, together with Damijan Stepančič’s pictures at the start of each chapter, makes for an excellent monument of narrative.
Majda Travnik Vode, Sodobnost
Möderndorfer has once again skilfully drawn an unreliable narrator – Bruno’s fertile imagination, which has been formed primarily by Hollywood blockbusters, gets in the way of his attempts to understand what is going on at home. Running through his mind are spy movies, thrillers and horror films, and this provides for a refreshing dose of humour. The older or better-read and more informed reader, meanwhile, will quietly chuckle at Bruno’s naivety.
Aljoša Harlamov, Književni listi
To the little bits that make up the world of the eleven-year-old the writer deftly adds a dash of humour (most evident through the figure of Catherine the Great), a smidgen of the unconscious (Bruno’s dreams), and a hint of the filmic (or of the fairy tale), and the boy can begin to shed his childhood skin. The lesson he learns at the end of the day is that there’s sense becoming an accountant if you want to become a painter.
Gabriela Babnik, Književni listi
“The novel Like in a Film is full of pop-cultural references that, here and there, Möderndorfer gently ironizes. But the novel, especially in the second part, is more reminiscent of the (initiation) fairy tale in which the hero seeks refuge in the (villain’s) cottage in order to gaze into the maw of fear and to look reality in the eye. He returns as a youth whose life is indeed a little less ‘normal,’ but which is all the more lively and colourful. And now he can also watch those films rated PG – and not just online but together with a girl, at the ‘live’ movies.”
Maša Ogrizek, Bukla