Zivko Nikolic – Bestije AKA Beasts (1977)



A Pasolini-esque mythical tale that is probably a metaphor for Serbian-Croatian Yugoslavia of old and its politics. On an island that floats, the leader is an old captain constantly awaiting death who always holds up a picture of himself as a young man, there are dozens of black-clothed crones always hovering in the background, there’s a priest, a sailor, an older woman with desperate lusts, a young man, and various other characters that all seem to represent something. There’s also a law that says that people are not responsible for their actions during a depressing storm. When a beautiful and mysterious woman arrives by boat, she creates havoc, with all the men lusting after her, the women chasing and hating her, as she stirs up dark secrets like greed and lust in the priest’s home, a pregnancy, and deep confused desires from the dying captain. She only seems to get along with the laid-back young man who plays with her. The natives sing traditional song, the atmosphere is earthy and mythical, all leading to a violent metaphorical climax. Continue reading

Dusan Makavejev – Ljubavni slucaj ili tragedija sluzbenice P.T.T. AKA Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (1967)


An early (1967) film by Dusan Makavejev, the master of the eastern European dirty joke (WR: Mysteries of the Organism, Montenegro). The passionate affair of a telephone operator and a Marxist rodent exterminator is intercut with lectures on criminology and sexology, with occasional cooking lessons. It’s very funny and, with its ragged arrangement of warring styles and ideologies, very original: it’s like a smutty, sticky-fingered Godard. – Dave Kehr, The Chicago Reader Continue reading

Marko Babac, Zivojin Pavlovic & Vojislav ‘Kokan’ Rakonjac – Grad AKA City (1963)


The first film of the Yugoslav Black Wave.

Grad is a psychological drama about the thin line that separates depression and melancholy. It gives us the opportunity to understand that the alienation of the modern socialist man is not just a social problem, but also a poetic aestheticization of urban thinking and behaviour. For Pavlovic, Bapca, and especially Rakonjca, self-destruction is not a defence mechanism, but a lifestyle.

Exploring new areas of old sites, Grad is, in a figurative sense, the first Yugoslavian film that deals with the suburb as a metaphor of alternative culture. Through their analysis of public consciousness, the three directors project their secret Bauhaus, seeking its shadow in the hidden areas of obsolete thought, in the everyday of Socialism. Continue reading

Djordje Kadijevic – Leptirica AKA The Butterfly (1973)


Yugoslavian vampire horror film
Directed by Djordje Kadijevic in 1973
Cast: Mirjana Nikolic, Petar Bozovic , Slobodan Perovic, Vasja Stankovic

This is a Yugoslavian female vampire horror film of the early 70s shot in the Serbian countryside and based on a novel. The film starts in a mill. The old miller listens strange bird voices and while he’s sleeping the millstone suddenly stops working and a strange creature with black hands, long nails, angry eyes and long teeth bites his neck and drinks his blood. You don’t manage to see the whole creature but you understand it’s a human, not animal… Continue reading

Zelimir Zilnik – Zurnal o omladini na selu zimi (1967)


Young people living in villages throughout Vojvodina, in their spare time: bars, dances, vine cellars.
Outburst of life energy, and on the other hand, emptiness of life.
This was Zilnik’s professional debut: it introduced his style of ‘’film provocation’’, ‘’wild realism’’, ‘’documentary fiction’’ and ‘’arranged document’’, later to become stylistic feature of all Zilnik’s films. Continue reading

Dusan Makavejev – Sweet Movie (1974)


Dušan Makavejev’s anarchic 1974 comedy goes even further than his previous W.R., depicting more trangressions than the average viewer’s imagination could conjure up.

From Time Out London:
Potentially one of the most scandalous films ever made—except that it has been little seen outside France and has not aged well. Seemingly completely episodic, the ‘plot’ follows the adventures of a beauty queen (Laure), a certified virgin who escapes a disastrous honeymoon with the richest man in the world to join a group of carefree sensualists. The latter are the once-notorious Otto Muehl troupe, who delight in pissing and shitting as a public spectacle. This is cross-cut with the journey of the good ship SS Survival (which sports Karl Marx for a masthead) on the Seine. Laure herself sought legal suppression of certain shots which, in their blanked out form, ironically suggest even more sexual activity on her part. Sadly, this highly idiosyncratic melange of sex and politics, for all its liberating pretensions, only served to put Makavejev’s career back a good few steps. –David Thompson Continue reading