Yugoslavia

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 »

Emir Kusturica – Bila jednom jedna zemlja AKA Underground [TV series] (1995)

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Description: An unpredictable black comedy with an epic scope, Emir Kusturica’s highly acclaimed Underground takes a look at the modern history of Yugoslavia through the often absurd misadventures of two friends stretching over several decades – from the outbreak of World War II in the 1940s to the destruction of this once-great nation in the 1990s. Read More »

Lazar Stojanovic – Plasticni Isus AKA Plastic Jesus (1971)

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Anarchic collage on Titoism and Stalinism, totalitarism and undeground arts, Fascism and Socialism. A minor narrative line tells about a bearded anarchist filmmaker whose Croatian- American girlfriend keeps on singing country songs – one of them entitled Plastic Jesus. When she leaves him, he finds another woman and gets into trouble with the police. Influenced by the Yigoslav Black Wave of the late 6o’s, especially by Dušan Makavejev’s W.R. – Mysteries of the organism, Stojanovićs film marks a free spirit, connected with sarcastic criticism on the socialist leaders of it’s time which is specially dome by a subversive use of certain archive material. [Zagreb Film festival 2006, festival catalogue] Read More »

Jovan Jovanovic – Mlad i zdrav kao ruza aka Young and healthy as a rose (1971)


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A director with a very distinctive style, Jovan Jovanovic has filmed in 1971 one of the most significant works in the history of contemporary Serbian film. “Young and Healthy Like a Rose” is a strong visionary achievement that still looks topical today as back in the times when it was filmed and banned by the then communist censorship. A story about a young delinquent, who evolves from typical outsider to mafia boss of Belgrade seemed shocking back then; today, it is the cruel reality of our times. With incredible foresight of things to come, Jovanovic’s leading character says: “I am your future”. More poetical than Hollywood movies, much more realistic than “Trainspotting”. An exciting story about crime, drugs and the deadly grip of the secret police in Serbia. The best role of Dragan Nikolic, one of the rare ones he presented himself as a tough guy and the authentic sex symbol from this region. A slap in the face of film and other convention. A must see! Read More »

Nikola Tanhofer – H-8 (1958)

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A bus and a truck are moving towards each other along a two-way traffic highway on a rainy day. At the very beginning we learn that a reckless driver of another car will cause them to collide while trying to pass the bus; we even learn what seats will spell doom for their occupants. The rest of the movie follows two streams of events on the bus and on the truck, getting us to know and like a wide variety of characters, wondering which ones will end up being casualties and holding breath for our favourites. The epilogue brings some more surprises… Read More »