Dušan Makavejev

Scen.: Dušan Makavejev, Raša Popov. F.: Aleksandar Petković, Branko Perak. M.: Ivanka Vukasović. Scgf.: Milan Jeremić. Mus.: Petar Bergamo. Int.: Milena Dravić (Rajka), Janez Vrhovec (Jan Rudiniski), Stole Aranđelović (Barbulović), Eva Ras (moglie di Barbulović), Boris Dvornik (Bosko), Roko Cirkovic (l’ipnotizzatore Roko). Prod.: Dušan Perkovic per Avala Film. DCP. D.: 78’. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Although the interplay between the eras of Yugoslav cinema has been repeatedly emphasised (and no one does this better than Makavejev, having been a keen film critic and started his directorial career with short films at an existing studio), the impact of this debut feature in Serbian cinema is so striking that even today it appears to be a revolutionary work, capable of encapsulating the director’s future work. The ‘documentary’ character of the mad hypnotist is itself a perfect synthesis of the engineers in Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator and of Wilhelm Reich, together with the dictators (Stalin, Tito, Mao) dotted throughout his film W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism. Čovek nije tica ends on the words of the hypnotist declaring his command over good and evil, a criminal master- mind worthy of Lang’s Dr. Mabuse. But let’s not forget that the film has a subtitle, Ljubavni film (love story), and the full title of the film should be read together. In short, this is a romance that believes in the power of love while seeing in it the proximity to death, just as Makavejev never denied he was a Marxist, even though he saw his denial within an ideology of power. The film has a counterpart, depicting the industrial landscape, in a work from the end of the 1950s that is also in the Bologna programme, a beautiful film called Zenica; however, Makavejev makes a leap not so much towards an idea of modernity as towards the outdated, where desire and passion are imposed on social history as its real domain. It can’t be called an optimistic film (not even ‘socialistically’), but it questions the death instincts: the statement that “man is not a bird” is coupled with the phrase from Makavejev’s book for young people that said “the eye is not a hawk”: but that negation is the most profound challenge of filmmaking.

Sergio M. Grmek Germani

Copy From

Restored in 4K in 2020 at Delta Video laboratory, from a 35mm negative print preserved by Jugoslovenska Kinoteka