Sometimes fiction proves inadequate in the face of individuals with extraordinary destinies. Alternatively, we might assert that the lives of such people possess an impact equal to that of great literature. It is difficult to avoid viewing the protagonist of the short documentary ‘The Woman Who Stops the Wind‘ as a European iteration of Ursula, the central female character in Gabriel García Márquez’s novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’. This parallel with Márquez’s work is not merely coincidental, however. By chance or design, director Vesna Marich presents us, like the Colombian novelist, with a chronicle of a community in Lovište, Croatia, beginning with its inception, moving through its “golden age,” and ending with its contemporary “touristic” decline. The war also plays a crucial role in the development of this local history, coinciding with that of an extraordinary woman, Marija Srhoj. Lastly, to conclude this series of intentional or unintentional similarities, the element of magical realism holds a central position, without the documentary straying from its biographical objective. Thus, in this brief exploration of Marija Srhoj’s life, weaves details related to archaic, unfamiliar techniques for harnessing natural forces or the secrets of herbs capable of curing any ailment with facts pertaining to the written and unwritten history of this land.


And yet, what Vesna Marich offers us with this short documentary is more than an attempt to recount a space from the subjective perspective of a witness. Above all, her project is a tender tribute to a truly captivating person whose spiritual strength possesses the magnetism of a mythical figure. Although the film material endeavors to capture the destiny of a community through archive photos, newspaper articles, and testimonies from various individuals, its greatest strength lies in the details provided about this woman. Through this endeavor, the director delivers a project that impresses primarily with its humanistic consistency, rather than adopting the rigid style of a monograph aimed solely at enthusiasts of history or sociology. From this standpoint, ‘The Woman Who Stops the Wind’ surpasses the pitfalls of elitism, introducing us to a remarkable individual who manages to restore our confidence in humanity, something that we risk losing, particularly in these tense times.