Yugoslavia

Matjaz Klopcic – Na papirnatih avionih aka Paper Planes (1967)

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A photographer tired of the jaded milieu of an early advertising age under socialism romances a young ballerina. The Triple Bridge, fountains and rooftops of the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and the ski resorts of the Slovenian Alps are the dreamy 1960s backdrops for this great love story. Disarmingly believable as the inexperienced naif, Snežana Nikšić, as the ballerina, steals the show.

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Jean-Marie Straub: But all the same there is something very different. For example, there’s a Yugoslav filmmaker I like very much, whose called Matjaž Klopčič. He makes films which are … I don’t know, somewhere between Cocteau and Mallarme. Well, he did one, at first, which was called A Story that Doesn’t Exist, and then a second, called On Paper Wings (1967). The first was a total failure, but all the same he was able to do the second straight away, and I think he’s just finished shooting a third. You can’t say his films are suitable for a mass audience – you can’t say they’d be successful. Although the first film was unsuccessful he was able to do his second without making any concessions to the myth of the mass public which doesn’t exist. This sort of thing can’t happen in Western Europe.

Source: There’s Nothing More International Than a Pack of Pimps – A Conversation between Pierre Clémenti, Miklos Janscó, Glauber Rocha and Jean-Marie Straub convened by Simon Hartog in Rome, February 1970. Read More »

Aleksandar Petrovic – Skupljaci perja AKA I even met happy Gipsies (1967)

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From IMDB:
Bora the Gypsy is married to an older woman, and he falls in love with the younger Tissa, who is being offered in marriage by her father, to a young gypsy man. This marriage arrangement is according to custom. Tissa rejects her husband, claiming he is not able to consumate the marriage, and Bora joins her. They get a monk in the mountains to marry them. Unable to return to the Gypsy camp, Tissa tries to reach Belgrad on her own, but a couple of truck drivers rape her, and she does return in misery to her tribe. Meanwhile, Bora defends his honour the traditional way, in a knife duwl, and kills his opponent. Therefore he, too, must leave the tribe. And yet, we’ll find happy gypsies… Written by Artemis-9 Read More »

Aleksandar Petrovic – Tri AKA Three (1965)

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Here is a review from NYT from 1967 when it was nominated for Best foreign film at Academy Awards:

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War’s utter bestiality and waste, usually illustrated by armies, is brought into sharp focus by a talented few in “Three,” a prize-winning Yugoslav drama that treats its bleak and harrowing subject with a grim but poetic artistry. It had a showing at the New York Film Festival last year, and is now at the Studio Cinema and 72d Street Theaters. The film is mystifyingly abrupt in its transitions, but its effects, physical and intellectual, are unmistakably forceful and chilling.

The director, Aleksandar Petrovic, with the aid of a sparse script and stunning photography by Tomislav Pinter, has pointed up war’s ravages as it affects one partisan’s fights in one small sector of the conflict. In each of three events he is part of, needless death brought about by fear, despair and defeat. In the opening sequence, as one of a milling village crowd seeking to escape by train from the approaching Nazis, he witnessed the shooting of an innocent man on suspicion by nervous Yugoslav soldiers. Read More »

Dusan Makavejev – W.R. – Misterije organizma aka W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971)

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From the Chicago Reader:

We may forget that the most radical rethinking of Marx and Freud found in European cinema of the late 60s and early 70s came from the east rather than the west. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a headier mix of fiction and nonfiction, or sex and politics, than this brilliant 1971 Yugoslav feature by Dusan Makavejev, which juxtaposes a bold Serbian narrative shot in 35-millimeter with funky New York street theater and documentary shot in 16. The “WR” is controversial sexual theorist Wilhelm Reich and the “mysteries” involve Joseph Stalin as an erotic figure in propaganda movies, Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs “killing for peace” as he runs around New York City with a phony gun, and drag queen Jackie Curtis and plaster caster Nancy Godfrey pursuing their own versions of sexual freedom. – Jonathan Rosenbaum Read More »

Veljko Bulajic – Bitka na Neretvi AKA The Battle of Neretva (1969)

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In 1943, Hitler orders the final destruction of the Yugoslav Partisans. The Partisans begin a trek northward to the relative safety of the Bosnian Mountains – their goal is to cross the treacherous Neretva gorge over one remaining bridge. Along the way, they battle German tanks, Italian infantry, Chetnik Cavalry, strafing airplanes, disease and natural elements.

Yugoslav director Bulajic is telling his story from all points of view, but his sympathies lie with the Partisans. The film has pro-Communist leanings, and tells several interwoven stories stressing the importance of comradeship in wartime. There are many important characters: Yul Brynner (“Morituri”) as crack demolition expert Vlado; Sergei Bondarchuk (director of “Waterloo”) as short-tempered artillery officer Martin; Franco Nero (“The Mercenary”) as an Italian Captain with no faith in Fascism; Hardy Kruger (“A Bridge too Far”) as Colonel Kranzer, who fights with dedication which begins to dwindle as he realizes the bitter reality that the partisans are a formidable enemy; Ljubisa Samardzic (“Battle of the Eagles”) and Sylva Koscina (“Hornets’ Nest”) are brother-and-sister, and Koscina is to marry Ivan (Lojze Rozman) after the war; the list goes on and on, and although every character is significant, it’s impossible to list them all. There’s an interesting twist, too: the legendary Orson Welles plays a Chetnik Senator who battles for concessions with General Lohring (the great Curd Jurgens), a commited Nazi officer who is determined the wipe out the Partisans once and for all. Read More »

Alan Cooke – Nadia (1984)

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Story about gymnast Nadia Comaneci from her childhood beginning as a gymnast and how she was discovered by Belya Karolyi. Nadia received 7 perfect 10’s in the Montreal Olympics. The film follows her from childhood through the 1980 Olympics. Read More »

Vatroslav Mimica – U oluji AKA In the Storm (1952)

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Vatroslav Mimica (born 25 June 1923 in Omiš) is an award-winning Croatian film director and screenwriter. He had his directorial and screenwriting debut in the 1952 Yugoslav film In the Storm (Croatian: U oluji) which starred Veljko Bulajic, Mia Oremovic and Antun Nalis. This crime melodrama takes place in Dalmatian region and follows the fate of widow Rose who tries to commit suicide. Read More »