Yugoslav Black Wave  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Yugoslav Black Wave (sometimes referred to as just Black Wave) is a term used for film movement in Yugoslavia from 1960s and early 1970s. Notable directors: Dušan Makavejev, Žika Pavlović, Saša Petrović, Želimir Žilnik, Mika Antić, Lordan Zafranović, Mića Popović and Marko Babac. Their films are known for their non-traditional approach to filmmaking, their dark humor and their critical examination of the society at the time.

In the early sixties Yugoslavia achieved its highest levels of film production and export during this period of intense creativity and experimentation. New tendency is increasing the individual and collective freedom of artistic expression, to reform cinematic forms and language. Filmmakers wanted to get right to reflect the darker side of human and to critique line of policy of a socialist state. This stream gained international attention and provoked strong controversies within Yugoslavia. Liberalisation of film form and expression reached its apex in 1967– 1968. In the next years, the counter-offensive against new movement in the cinema intensified. Black films were attacked for their pessimistic view of Yugoslav socialist development, liberalism, anarchistic and individualistic tendencies. This was a part of the broader political developments and led to the banning of some films. Some directors are forced to leave the country.

Notable persons and movies

Aleksandar "Saša" Petrović was one of the major figures of the Yugoslav Black Wave. He did this trend well known in Yugoslavia and abroad. Two of his works were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: Three in 1966 and I Even Met Happy Gypsies (Feather Gatherers) in 1967.

Želimir Žilnik's Early Works (1969) is a film that showed the main tendencies of the Yugoslav Black Wave: nonordinary forms, polemical methods, socio-critical concerns, oppositional ideology and a fatalistic final. At the same time, it prompted the journalist Vladimir Jovičić (who insisted on the position the traditional communist party line) to write an article "The Black Wave in Our Cinema" which coined the very term “Black Wave”. The official counterattack against the Yugoslav Black Wave began with this film and this article.

Dušan Makavejev was an absolute leader of the Black Wave film­makers. His most successful movie was the 1971 political satire WR: Mysteries of the Organism, which he directed and wrote. The film was banned, and Makavejev fled the country, not working there again until 1988. He made Sweet Movie in Canada, the Netherlands, and France. It is banned in various countries to this day.

Although the best directors and movies of the black wave were Serbian, cinema of Croatia also was a party to this process. Most famous black wave classic from Croatia is Lisice (Handcuffs, 1969, by Krsto Papić), first art product showing secrets of the breakup between Josip Broz Tito and Joseph Stalin in 1948.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Yugoslav Black Wave" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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