By Rachel Galvin
By Rachel Galvin
For Marta Jovanović, art is everything. Her medium of choice is herself, whether she is smashing eggs, being tied up, or having pig hearts pelt her body. Her performance art is entrancing and inviting, as she welcomes the viewer into what she is trying to convey. She covers topics from what it is to be a woman and an artist, to finding beauty in unique places, to the brutality and heartbreak of war and conflict.
The unfolding of her story is brilliantly told by documentary filmmaker Robert Adanto. With captivating and, at times, disturbing visuals, he follows the life of this Serbian artist, who has suffered through an abusive relationship, the misunderstanding of her work and the accusation that she has wasted her life on art rather than creating a family.
You can feel her angst, her anger brewing inside waiting to bubble out. Like a rebel punk, Jovanović is filled with fury but, instead of exploding it out, she channels it in specific and thought-provoking ways that push the boundaries. She sets fire to convention in the same way she lights her old wedding dress on fire, burning away thoughts of her ex-husband and letting that dream that once was die away, while perhaps unveiling something about relationships and what they should and should not be.
There is a certain freedom in it and that is something she seems to have in spades, but does she really? Like all of us, she struggles with her own identity, but, in her case, she holds it up, like an open wound for the world to see, throwing caution to the wind and shoving it in the faces of art-loving bystanders whether they like it or not.
Adanto has created another masterpiece with this film. Like his previous films: The Rising Tide, Pearls on the Ocean Floor, City of Memory and The F Word, Born Just Now focuses on art and culture and makes celluloid magic. His films have been shown in over 40 international festivals, as well as having exhibitions in museums and elsewhere worldwide. Adanto is a fellow of the Sundance Institute Documentary Program and earned his MFA in Acting at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He was the head of the Film and TV Production program at NSU University School from 2012 to 2016, but now is teaching speech & debate and Model UN at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx, NY.
Adanto met Jovanović in 2013 when doing follow-up interviews for The F Word, which explores feminist performance. One of the people he interviewed suggested maybe adding Jovanović into the mix for that film, but when he read a book she gave him about Jovanović, he realized that her work would be better showcased in a film all its own. He spoke with her and decided to start shooting in 2016. Production began in Belgrade and he had a small crew of locals there help him with shooting, in addition to shots he had a second cinematographer capture in New York.
Born Just Now made its UK-premiere last week in London and will be screening in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the end of the month. Clips from his past art documentaries are in a special exhibition at the Art & Culture Center in Hollywood called F.A.R. (Female Artists Revealed), which will be on display until Oct. 27.
Born Just Now was shown here at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center (50 W. Atlantic Blvd., in Pompano Beach) on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. as part of their Montage film series. For more information on the cultural center, visit www.ccpompano.org.