Boštjan Hladnik

Sog.: from the novel Črni dnevi in beli dan (1958) by Dominik Smole. Scen.: Boštjan Hladnik. F.: Janez Kališnik. M.: Kleopatra Harisijades. Scgf.: Niko Matul. Mus.: Bojan Adamič. Int.: Duša Počkaj (Maruša), Miha Baloh (Peter), Rado Nakrst (Anton), Ali Raner (suggeritore), Joža Zupan (Magda), Arnold Tovornik (autista), Janez Jerman (direttore del teatro), Janez Albreht (cameriere). Prod.: Dušan Povh per Triglav film. 35mm. D.: 98’. 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

In 1961, a peak year for European film modernism, and as Jean-Luc Godard was enjoying great success with A Woman Is a Woman, director Boštjan Hladnik also delved into the world of a woman and a love triangle in his debut Ples v dežju. The film was first presented at the Pula Film Festival, Yugoslavia’s leading event dedicated to showing the country’s cinema and equally comiitted to championing the achievements of its constitutive republics. Hladnik had shot the film after returning from Paris, where he had assisted Claude Chabrol and frequented the Cinémathèque. He stated that his film had been “made in a creative atmosphere similar to the one in France”. Yet the atmosphere Hladnik found when he returned home was dark and pessimistic. This was perhaps the main reason he chose this novel by Dominik Smole – Črni dnevi in beli dan (Black Days and White Day), an impossible love story with no happy ending. The director himself called Ples v dežju a kind of “black melodrama”, involving a number of unhappy love relationships. We have the downcast painter Peter (Miha Baloh), unlucky theatre actress Maruša (Duša Počkaj), who loves Peter but is not wanted by him, and the shy, anonymous Prompter (Ali Raner) in love with Maruša. The fourth figure in the film is Mr Anton (Rado Nakrst), Peter’s elderly flatmate, who constantly spies on him. Present in the background is a young couple who perform the dance of ‘ideal’ lovers throughout the film. The novel rejects convention and is written almost entirely in the associative manner. We can begin to appreciate how the text lends itself to Hladnik’s typically modernistic treatment, which elegantly interweaves the real with the imaginary. By further complementing the moder istic approach with classical film language, Hladnik shows his mastery of film art and confirms Ples v dežju among the unique works of cinema.

Nerina T. Kocjančič

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courtesy by Slovenski Filmski Center