Post-Yugoslav Film: Style and Ideology

Jurica Pavičić

The Development of Post-Yugoslav Cinemas and the Eastern European Context

4. The Eastern European and the Post-Yugoslav Situation: Similarities and Differences

The fourth part of our translation project on publishing in English the text of Jurica Pavičić's book "Postjugoslovenski film: Stil i ideologija" (Hrvatski filmski savez, Zagreb, 2011.). The work is supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. The text is translated by Nikolina Jovanović.

4.1. A different kind of transition

There were and still are understandable socioeconomic similarities between the situation in cinema in post-Yugoslav countries and in the rest of Eastern Europe. The post-Yugoslav cinemas – including that in Slovenia – also suffered the early shock of transition. There, too, public funding suddenly decreased or disappeared in the early nineties, and some studios suffered imprudent privatisation (Croatia, Jadran film) or vanished completely. In all post-Yugoslav countries – including Slovenia – film production decreased or even stopped in the early nineties; in some of them the crisis lasted for a short time (Croatia, Slovenia), in others for as long as a decade (Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina). 

In post-Yugoslav countries, too, there was a great decrease in the number of single screen cinemas, although the time of the cinema network collapse and its later renewal by multiplexes differed depending on economic development. In Slovenia, multiplexes had already replaced the failed single screen cinemas by the mid-nineties. In Croatia, the collapse of single screen cinemas peaked in 1998/99 but the number of multiplex screens largely compensated for the effects of this collapse during the following decade. In Serbia single screen cinemas disappeared from cities in the middle of the following decade.   

Another characteristic feature of post-Yugoslav lands, and also of the rest of the East, was a generation change among filmmakers after 1990. Just as in the rest of Eastern Europe, the older generation of auteurs from the socialist period split in two separate “castes”. The first were internationally known filmmakers who continued to work in foreign coproductions – Emir Kusturica and Goran Paskaljević. The second were distinguished auteurs from the earlier period who made very few films during the nineties or none at all, which was not only true of Serbian directors (Goran Marković, Srđan Karanović, Miša Radivojević, Živojin Pavlović,  Slobodan Šijan), but also of Croatian (Rajko Grlić, Krsto Papić, Krešo Golik, Zoran Tadić) and Slovenian directors (Karpo Godina).

Despite these similarities, in one essential element the situation in post-Yugoslav countries and in the rest of the European East differed completely. For the rest of Eastern Europe the period after 1989 was period “after history”, a time of no epic and outstanding events, of at first glance no great stories, so stories were sought either in the past or in evading social issues. The situation in post-Yugoslav countries – with the significant exception of Slovenia – could not have differed more. In the former Yugoslavia the nineties and the early two thousands were the very moment of dramatic social upheavals – wars, ethnic cleansing, material and human loss, personal and family tragedies, exodus, struggles against authoritarian ideologies and leaders. These events were so dramatic that they became constitutive experiences for each post-Yugoslav nation and society. They dominated public perception and memory to such a degree that everything that had happened earlier became ephemeral and irrelevant. For post-Yugoslav communities, the period after 1989 was by no means a time “after history” – indeed, it was a period of the “intensification of history” with such a concentration of events in a short period of one decade that would for a long time to come alter and retailor the political, demographic, economic and cultural reality of the region. This essential, fundamental difference between the post-Yugoslav and Eastern European transitions was also reflected in cinema. 

 

4.2. An exception: the case of Slovenia

Of all the post-Yugoslav countries only Slovenia developed peacefully and without a traumatic transition. Accordingly, of all the post-Yugoslav cinemas only the Slovenian consistently reflected the trends typical for the rest of Eastern Europe. Slovenian culture was the first, and for a long time the only, one to pass through the cultural stage of ostalgie – in the mid-nineties this could best be seen in the form of special programmes in clubs, so-called pioneer evenings, which included Yugoslav music, clothes and imagery. Films that re-examine Yugoslavia in various ways are still an essential part of Slovenian production (Sladke sanje/Sweet Dreams, Sašo Podgoršek, 2011; Zvenjenje v glavi/Headnoise, Andrej Košak, 2002) and even became hits in Slovenia (Outsider, Andrej Košak, 1997; Traktor, ljubezen in rock'n'roll/Tractor, Love and Rock'n'roll, Branko Đurić, 2008).  

Similarly as in Central/Eastern European filmmaking, many leading Slovenian films were about young misfits and people on the fringes of society (V leru/Idle Running, Janez Burger, 1999; Barabe!/Scoundrels!, Miran Zupanič, 2001; Slepa pega/Blind Spot, Hanna W. Slak, 2002) and characters in social evasion, which was often shown through the road movie genre (Babica gre na jug/Grandma goes South, Vinci V. Anžlovar, 1991; Idle Running, Janez Burger, 1999;  Nikoli nisva sla v Benetke/We’ve Never Been to Venice, Blaž Kutin, 2008; Izlet/A Trip, Nejc Gazvoda, 2011). The social landscape in Slovenian films to a high degree coincides with that in developed north-European societies: Slovenian cinema makes films about immigrants (Porno film, Damjan Kozole, 2000; Kajmak in marmelada/Cheese and Jam, Branko Đurić, 2003), trafficking (Rezervni deli/Spare Parts, Damjan Kozole, 2003), the ultra-right subculture (Predmestje/Outskirts, Vinko Möderndorfer, 2004), drug abuse (Slepilo/Blindness, Jan Bilodjerič, 2005; Blind Spot, Hanna W. Slak, 2002), prostitution (Slovenka/Slovenian Girl, Damjan Kozole, 2009), post-transition family crises (Uglasevanje/Tuning, Igor Šterk, 2005; Za vedno/Forever, Damjan Kozole, 2008), and working-class crisis in the post-industrial society (Delo osvobaja/Labour Equals Freedom, Damjan Kozole, 2004).

In short, Slovenian cinema as a type almost ideally represents the thematic interests and genres of the new Central-European cinemas – with only one exception. In Slovenia there were no market prerequisites or real interest in historical epics, and only several costumed biographical films were made. 

 

4.3. Revisionism and ostalgie

Although the Slovenian experience greatly coincides with that in (for example) Hungary, the Czech Republic or Slovakia, in the rest of post-Yugoslavia the trends were and still are inconsistent with those in Eastern Europe, and often completely the opposite.   

First, the “revisionist” trend of the early nineties did not have a strong echo in post-Yugoslav cinemas. Films of this kind were made only sporadically, most of them in Croatia, but even in these rare instances they had been conceived and begun on the eve of the political changes, such as Krhotine/Fragments (Zrinko Ogresta, 1991), Tito i ja/Tito and Me (Goran Marković, 1991), Luka/The Port (Tomislav Radić, 1992) or Priče iz Hrvatske/Stories from Croatia (Krsto Papić, 1992). “Revisionist” or anti-communist films also occasionally appeared in cinemas in which production had been interrupted in the nineties, as a settlement in arrears the post- (or anti-) communist debt (Tunel/The Tunnel, Faruk Sokolović, 2000; Golemata voda/The Great Water, Ivo Trajkov, 2004; Gomaret e kufirit/Border Donkey, Jeton Ahmetaj, 2009).   

It is not difficult to explain why fewer revisionist or anti-communist films were made in the cinemas of the region. One reason is that the more liberal cultural policy of communist Yugoslavia already had a long tradition of films about the dark sides of the communist past so a large number of films had already before 1990 been made about subjects such as post-WW2 executions (Tri/Three, Aleksandar Petrović, 1965; Jutro/Morning, Puriša Đorđević, 1967), the repression carried out by the victors over the defeated (Mali vojnici/Playing Soldiers, Bahrudin Čengić, 1967; Sokol ga nije volio/Sokol did not Like Him, Branko Schmidt, 1990), the violence of Tito’s political police (Lisice/Handcuffs, Krsto Papić, 1969; Otac na službenom putu/When Father was away on Business, Emir Kusturica, 1985; Srećna nova '49/Happy New Year ‘49, Stole Popov, 1986), the prison on Goli otok island (Sveti pesak/Sacred Sand, Miroslav Mika Antić), the fate of unwanted minorities (Sokol ga nije volio, Sokol did not Like Him, Branko Schmidt, 1968; Na istarski način/In the Istrian Way, Vladimir Fulgosi, 1985) or forced nationalisation (Parlog/Fallow Land, Karolj Viček, 1974).  In other words, “revisionist cinema” did not have as many disregarded faults to feed on. However, the second and undoubtedly the more important reason was that in comparison with the dramatic events that were currently going on, filmmakers were no longer interested in the dark sides of history: beside what was taking place at that very moment, the past seemed unimportant and pale.   

Ostalgie films were also not as characteristic of the post-Yugoslav region as they were of the rest of Eastern Europe. In Croatia the official ideology of the nineties was strongly anti-communis, and Yugo-nostalgia was a defamatory political label common in the dominant political jargon. In the context of a strongly state-run cinema, filmmakers avoided projects of this kind so in Croatia ostalgie predominantly remained in the domain of literature (Slavenka Drakulić, Goran Tribuson) and pop-music (Osamdesete/The Eighties by Daleka obala). Serbia and Montenegro were in the nineties ruled by the same people, with almost the same ideology, as they had been in the communist eighties and the democratic and opposition movements were explicitly anti-communist,[1] which meant that the basic political precondition for any ostalgie culture – i.e., that the communist authorities had been overthrown – was not fulfilled. In Bosnia and Herzegovina sorrow for the eighties was and has remained a widespread dominant feeling, and one can rightly say that nostalgia for the idealised, multicultural eighties is a fundamental component in the cultural self-image of post-war B&H (clearly recognisable in the prose of writers such as Aleksandar Hemon, Nenad Veličković and Miljenko Jergović, or in pop-songs like Yugo 45 by Zabranjeno pušenje). However, at the time when ostalgie was relevant as the impulse of a generation, Bosnian and Herzegovinian fledgling film production was immersed in other subjects.   

All these factors resulted in ostalgie films – with the exception of Slovenia – being rarer and coming later than in the rest of the East. They appeared in Croatia first, but not until after the political changes of 1999/2000: examples are the films Kraljica noći/Queen of the Night (Branko Schmidt, 2001), Ne dao bog većeg zla/God Forbid a Greater Evil (Snježana Tribuson, 2002), Karaula/The Border Post (Rajko Grlić, 2005) and Moram spavat, anđele/I Have to Sleep, My Angel (Dejan Aćimović, 2007). Although too few to form a coherent trend, in Croatian cultural life they appeared as an obvious corrective, an attempt to revise the simplistic view of the communist period that had predominated in the nineties.  

Although Yugo-nostalgic films or Yugo-revisiting films (a more precise definition) were only a small part of the production in the new cinemas, they were the part of film production that found it easiest to cross regional borders. Thus the first film to be distributed in all the countries of ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s was a film about Yugoslavia in the 1980s –   Outsider by Andrej Košak. Another film about the eighties, the Croatian film The Border Post by Rajko Grlić, was the first film coproduced by producers from all the successor states. The Border Post – with 101,461 viewers in Serbia – was also the only non-Serbian film produced by the new cinemas that had considerable box-office success even outside its home territory. The fact that films of this kind found it easiest to cross borders shows that the shared Yugoslav experience was an integrating factor for audiences in the successor states, not a factor of separation.    

 

4.4. Historical Films as Exceptions

The same, however, cannot generally be said about historical films. The completely irrelevant place held by historical films, and especially historical spectacles, in post-Yugoslav cinemas is another special characteristic differentiating post-Yugoslav cinema from Eastern European cinema as a whole. Although historical spectacles sporadically appeared in Croatia (Četverored/In Four Lines, Jakov Sedlar, 1999; Duga mračna noć/The Long, Dark Night, Antun Vrdoljak, 2004), they were rare in post-Yugoslav production until the middle of the 2000s, and after that they in the first place became characteristic of Serbia (Zona Zamfirova, 2002, and Ivkova slava/Ivko’s Saint’s Day, 2005 by Zdravko Šotra; Čarlston za Ognjenku/Charleston & Vendetta, Uroš Stojanović, 2008; Sveti Georgije ubiva aždahu/Saint George Slays the Dragon, Srđan Dragojević, 2009).

There is no doubt that one of the reasons for this is that filmmakers and the public were interested in contemporary events, and history seemed irrelevant. Another reason is that the small and atomised post-Yugoslav markets, where only one cinema (Serbian) had a serious number of viewers, made it economically unfeasible to produce expensive historical spectacles. Central European cinemas found an answer to this problem by choosing models that were attractive beyond their own borders and harnessing coproduction synergy, as in the case of Jánošík or Báthory. In the countries of former Yugoslavia this synergy could not exist. History did not link the post-Yugoslav societies but divided them in bloodshed, so it was difficult to imagine even in the period of intensive coproduction networking in the second part of the two thousands a historical model that would commercially and in outlook connect Serbian and Croatian, or Serbian and B&H producers, and be attractive to audiences on several markets.

Thus historical spectacles remained rare in former Yugoslavia, and were nationally exclusive and turned to the public on their own territories. Both in Croatia and in Serbia they appeared at specific moments in history, which in both cases determined them fundamentally. In Croatia these spectacles, with several exceptions (for example, Libertas, Veljko Bulajić, 2006), were about World War II and were produced just before and after the political changes in 2000 as an attempt at an anti-communist re-examination of history under communism. In Serbia these films usually revisited the pre-Yugoslav period of Serbian history (19th century and World War I) and were made just before and after Serbia became independent, when it was redefining its identity by relying on a construction of pre-Yugoslav Serbia as – to paraphrase Ravetto-Biagoli – an “imaginary” and “dreamworld” community.  

 

4.5. Films featuring the group: town, generation, community 

The dramatic political events that overwhelmed people in post-Yugoslavia in the nineties also obviously forged social links. The war, political crisis and pre-political conflict influenced everybody’s life and underlined the feeling that every individual belongs to an often invisible or unchosen group. Thus post-Yugoslav cinema (again, without Slovenia) was never dominated by the film of evasion or social escapism. On the contrary, many major post-Yugoslav films go in the opposite direction: they show the fate of people in the group/town/society/generation, defining the individual through a forest of networked relations fundamentally determined by the political and social context. Post-Yugoslav films often focus on the collective fate of a generation or a home region. In various ways, this is true of films such as Bure baruta/Cabaret Balkan (Goran Paskaljević, 1998), Fine mrtve djevojke/Fine Dead Girls (Dalibor Matanić, 2002), Tu/Here (Zrinko Ogresta, 2003), Gori vatra/Fuse (Pjer Žalica, 2003), Kod amidže Idriza/At Uncle Idriz’s (Pjer Žalica, 2004), Sutra ujutru/Tomorrow Morning (Oleg Novković, 2006), Hadersfild (Ivan Živković, 2007), Sedam i po/Seven and a Half (Miroslav Momčilović, 2007), Čuvari noći/Nightguards (Namik Kabil, 2008), Snijeg/Snow (Aida Begić, 2008), Metastaze/Metastases (Branko Schmidt, 2009), Tilva roš (Nikola Ležaić, 2010), Varvari/ Barbarians (Ivan Ikić, 2013). In all these films the individual is shown as a social being conditioned by the group, completely different from the marginal people and drop-outs of Eastern European cinema. In post-Yugoslav cinema escape is as a rule impossible and immersion in society is unconditional.

Post-Yugoslav cinemas – just like the other Eastern European cinemas – also often use the mythemes and genre of the road movie. However, because of the different individual/group relationship the road movie in post-Yugoslav cinemas functions in a different way than it does in films made in Russia and Eastern Europe. In Russian, Hungarian and Bulgarian examples travelling into the rural backwaters means escaping from reality/history into the timeless, mythical and atavistic, but in post-Yugoslav films travelling to the provinces usually means “discovering” reality/history and shedding the sheath of escapist comfort. Accordingly, in Varuh meje/Guardian of the Frontier (Maja Weiss, 2002) inoffensive girls on a kayaking trip along the river Kupa discover the reality of the fascistic Slovenian provinces. In Putovanje tamnom polutkom/Travelling in the Dark Hemisphere (Davor Žmegač, 1996) selfish and spoilt people from Zagreb are thrown into wartime Gospić, in Sivi kamion crvene boje/The Red Coloured Grey Truck (Srđan Koljević, 2004) a naïve Bosnian driver and a girl hitch-hiker from Belgrade find themselves in the middle of the first war skirmishes in 1991 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Bal-Can-Can (Darko Mitrevski, 2005) an ordinary Macedonian family is travelling through the wilderness of the Balkan criminal underworld, and in Turneja/The Tour (Goran Marković, 2008) Belgrade actors on tour through Bosnia discover the reality of the nationalistic ideology and Serbian engagement in the war. In all these cases the journey also means immersion in history-taking-place-now, it brings salvation from the state of escapist aloofness.

 

4.6. East/West: mirroring views 

Post-Yugoslav films also show the dynamics of the East/West relationship in a different way from Czech, Romanian or Polish films. Unlike the rest of the East, people from the former Yugoslavia enjoyed the privilege of an open border even before 1989, they were acquainted with the West through experiences of tourism and emigration, and the post-1989 period did not bring the shock of meeting the new and unknown world over there. On the other hand, the Yugoslav crisis and wars brought the West and Westerners to the former Yugoslavia in new and different roles: as monitors, mediators, peacemakers, journalists, humanitarians, and finally also as warriors engaged on one of the sides.

This also impacted films. Most Eastern European films about e/im-migration and the East/West relationship usually show the West and Westerners through the eyes of the East, which is losing its illusions about the “promised paradise” – as in Last Resort (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2000), Occident (Cristian Mungiu, 2002, Romania), Mila ot Mars/Mila from Mars (Sophia Zornitsa, 2004, Bulgaria) or Líštičky/Little Foxes (Mira Fornay, 2009, Slovakia). In post-Yugoslav cinema there is no theme of disenchantment with the West, for at least two reasons. The first is that the West was not unknown to the former Yugoslavs, and the second is that the West “did not come” in the real sense of the word. To be more precise, it came in the form of owning economic resources, capital and the consumer society, but because of political isolation, sanctions (Serbia, Montenegro), visas (B&H, Kosovo) and a halt in European integration, in the political and ideological sense it remained a postponed promise, a yearned-for destination, a nominally proclaimed political project. In post-Yugoslav films this delay became an object of narrative self-investigation.

Post-Yugoslav films characteristically introduce a foreigner or (even more often) an emigrant from the home region who observes his former community from the perspective of a Westerner. This is especially frequent in Serbian films (Cabaret Balkan, Goran Paskaljević, 1998; Sutra ujutru/Tomorrow Morning, Oleg Novković, 2006; Huddersfield, Ivan Živković, 2007), where this outside view underlines how disturbed and warped society has in the meantime become. Using this procedure, filmmakers subject their own society to the same external assessment that was politically formalised in the period of normalisation and the EU candidacy process, a period in which the Balkan/post-Yugoslav societies were evaluated from the Western point of view and rewarded for success in normalisation.     

In this process it is symptomatic that Croatian cinema typically showed a reserved or ironic view of the West and Westerners, although Croatia was the country that came closest to making the “European dream” come true during the 2000s. In the period when the “European dream” is really beginning to come true in Croatia (from the mid-2000s) several films were made, such as Što je muškarac bez brkova/What is a Man without a Moustache (Hrvoje Hribar, 2005), What Iva Recorded (Tomislav Radić, 2005) or Armin (Ognjen Sviličić, 2007), that treated with irony the subservient mentality and the colonial-style idolising of the West in Croatian (in the case of Armin - Bosnian) culture.

On the other hand, Western presence in the post-Yugoslav crisis impacted filmmaking, and Western interference in the war is usually shown sarcastically and critically, regardless of whether it features war reporters (Lepa sela lepo gore/ Pretty Village Pretty Flame, Život je čudo/ Life is a Miracle, Emir Kusturica, 2004), peace troops (Anđele moj dragi/ My Dear Angel, Tomislav Radić, 1996; Ničija zemlja/ No Man’s Land, Danis Tanović, 2001) or diplomacy (Gori vatra/ Fuse, Pjer Žalica, 2003; Kako ubiv svetec/How I Killed a Saint, Teona Strugar Mitevska, 2004). Films of this kind showed the Western view of the Balkans, and as these were festival films mostly targeting Western audiences they began to function as a system of multiple mirrors.

 

4.7. Local ideology, local style 

All these cases show that the post-Yugoslav cinemas – with the exception of Slovene – set off in a direction that was rather different from that of the rest of Eastern Europe. Post-Yugoslav cinemas had a different arc of development simply because this was also true of the societies in which they were made. Post-Yugoslav societies were simply crammed with history after 1989, and this history also had an effect on film. 

In some cases, as in Montenegro or Kosovo, the establishment of national sovereignty triggered the rebirth of cinema which had previously died down or been extinguished. In others, such as Croatia and Serbia, the turn of the decade brought such a sharp reversal in political development, and such a sharp and complete change of the dominant social ideology, that this change overturned the existing practice in filmmaking – starting from the system of institutions to genre models, and finally also to style. It must be said that these changes were largely “endemic”, very different from one milieu to another, and especially different from the rest of Eastern Europe (and also Slovenia), where there was no such “intensive history”.    

It goes without saying that these social, political and economic changes shaped the cinema system – its institutions, support system, financial basis, cinema market, legislation, formal and informal forms of (self)censorship. And these – again understandably – determined the preferred subjects, thematic preoccupations, recurring motifs and typical genres. However, in post-Yugoslav cinemas the political, social and ideological context to a great measure also shaped the dominant stylistic paradigms. These stylistic paradigms are largely a reflection and consequence of particular political circumstances and local/national ideologies. These dominant stylistic practices incorporate a self-narrative that nations and societies use to interpret themselves, and that the dominant ideology uses to interpret political reality. This narrative identity is not limited only to types of characters, typical motifs and the other components that shape meaning. In post-Yugoslav film, the discourse of ideology and discourse about history reveals itself in choice of privileged dramaturgy, in iconography, in visualisation and, inally, in the micro-stylistic characteristics of directing.   

In the following chapters I will show the dominant stylistic models adopted by post-Yugoslav cinemas, the socio-political circumstances under which they developed, and their links with national ideologies and local political, economic and social conditions. 

Translated by Nikolina Jovanović. The translation is supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.



[1] Clearly visible in the chanting of protestors during the Belgrade demonstrations of 1997 and 1999: “Red gang!”

Moveast

Jurica Pavičić

Stylistic Models

6. The Film of Self-balkanisation 1

The sixth part of our translation project on publishing in English the text of Jurica Pavičić's book "Postjugoslovenski film: Stil i ideologija" (Hrvatski filmski savez, Zagreb, 2011.). The work is supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. The text is translated by Nikolina Jovanović.

Jurica Pavičić

Stylistic Models

5. The Film of Self-victimisation

The fifth part of our translation project on publishing in English the text of Jurica Pavičić's book "Postjugoslovenski film: Stil i ideologija" (Hrvatski filmski savez, Zagreb, 2011.). The work is supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. The text is translated by Nikolina Jovanović.

Imre Szíjártó

Cinemas in Central-Eastern-Europe at the End of the 1980s

The historical framework

In this chapter we attempt to delineate the socio-historical background of the Central-Eastern- European cinemas of the 1990s. We treat the period directly preceding the change of regime, namely the "end of the 1980s" as a relatively neutral period reference and describe events of the  period relevant to film history. Since state socialism collapsed in a different rhythm and logic in each country, we will discuss each country separately. As in previous chapters the descriptive approach will be complemented by a comparative one, since we also try to formulate the regional message of the transformation that took place in each country.


Jurica Pavičić

The Development of Post-Yugoslav Cinemas and the Eastern European Context

4. The Eastern European and the Post-Yugoslav Situation: Similarities and Differences

The fourth part of our translation project on publishing in English the text of Jurica Pavičić's book "Postjugoslovenski film: Stil i ideologija" (Hrvatski filmski savez, Zagreb, 2011.). The work is supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. The text is translated by Nikolina Jovanović.

Iván Forgács

The Concept

Could there be a full gap between a state's political function and its ideology and recordable values with a humane trend? If not, in what kind of elements can be revealed the link? Is the opportunity of the violence game for this humanism inside? Could that state oppressor machineries work in the context of the humanism? How much was the film art of the East European state socialism specific? How much can be the intellectual-artistic peculiarities of the region's film production derived from the ideological values represented officially in these countries? May we talk about socialist cinema art in any kind of sense?

Jurica Pavičić

The Development of Post-Yugoslav Cinemas and the Eastern European Context

3. The Context of Eastern European Cinema after the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The third part of our translation project on publishing in English the text of Jurica Pavičić's book "Postjugoslovenski film: Stil i ideologija" (Hrvatski filmski savez, Zagreb, 2011.). The work is supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. The text is translated by Nikolina Jovanović.

Imre Szíjártó

Theoretical Framework: Canon, Canonisation, School 

The political transformation in the East-Central-European region, which began in the second half of the 1980s and ended in the early 1990s, connected in two countries with the establishment of souvereignty, seems to be a perfect period – or to be more precisely, a perfect milestone in history – to analyse the constructedness of the canon. Although it is clear that changes in values systems do not occur from one day to the next, neither can they be understood as effects of historical milestone events, unless we pause the ever changing reality of culture. 

Jurica Pavičić

The Development of Post-Yugoslav Cinemas and the Eastern European Context

2. The Development of Cinema in the Post-Yugoslav Countries

The second part of our translation project on publishing in English the text of Jurica Pavičić's book "Postjugoslovenski film: Stil i ideologija" (Hrvatski filmski savez, Zagreb, 2011.). The work is supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. The text is translated by Nikolina Jovanović.

Krasimir Kastelov

Postmodernist Film Interpretations of the Communist Past

(The Bulgarian contribution in the context of the Central and East European cinema)

The proposed analysis of key films from the Bulgarian and the East European cinema shows, that their postmodernist specifics is not accidental, but it reflects the overall feeling of crisis, lack of meaning and absurdity which has engaged the minds of many filmmakers from our region – something typical for the transition between two eras, when one cultural paradigm is put aside, but a new one is still not widely adopted. On the other hand, the appearance of those films, in my opinion, refutes the premature conclusions of some Western theorists that the postmodernism is already dead. 
Thirty years after the first swallows of the postmodernist cinema in the West, the film art in the post-totalitarian East European countries takes advantage of its lessons in order to make sense of some of the unpleasant episodes of the communist past, “with irony, not innocently” by Umberto Eco’s definition. The wide international reaction to most of the titles, analyzed in the current overview, suggests perhaps the right path for overcoming the nostalgia of that era.