Jovan Živanović, Miloš Stefanović

Scen.: Miloš Stefanović, Bogdan Jovanović, Bogdan Jakić. F.: Josip Novak. M.: Jelena Bjenjaš. Scgf.: Dragoljub Lazarević. Mus.: Bojan Adamič. Int.: Rade Marković (Bora), Gordana Miletić (Divna), Meta Milošević (Cika Pjer), Stole Aranđelović (Hasan), Mihajlo Viktorović (Zdenko), Nikola Popović (Avdaga), Viktor Starčić (il professore), Pavle Vuisić (Rajko), Svetlana Mišković (Emina). Prod.: UFUS – Udruženje Filmskih Umetnika Srbije. 35mm. D.: 80’. 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

If you are looking for impeccable melodrama from Yugoslav cinema you should look no further than Jovan Živanović and Miloš Stefanović’s brilliant Zenica. This classic takes us into the epicentre of postwar industrialisation and through the story of a couple’s arrival in a housing district in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the film allows us to experience the multicultural dynamic of contemporary Yugoslav society. Engineer Bora (Rade Marković) and his wife Divna (Gordana Miletić), a couple from the city, arrive in the rural town that appears run down and where the primary source of work, which also brought them there, is the big factory. As we meet characters such as Professor (Viktor Starčić), Hasan (Stole Aranđelović), Rajko (Pavle Vuisić), and Emina (Svetlana Mišković), we encounter a diverse group of people who ‘sleep under the same roof ’ and whose fates reflect the social shifts of a country increasingly propelled by modernisation. The bittersweet story of Emina is particularly moving and shows us her inner conflict between her strict Muslim upbringing and the new secular way of life. Through the meeting of people, we see a meeting of different worlds and mentalities and the many narratives which make up the film are structured as nuanced character studies which show us the different effects of this meeting on each of the character’s lives. The story of Bora who must find a way to keep his wife from leaving is not a traditional romantic arc, but becomes the final liberating factor in the multilayered narrative, through which we come to know a community and share in its pains and joys. Comparable to Elia Kazan and Otar Iosseliani, the directors of this film created a poignant work where dramaturgy and character meet in an original way. The critical social reflections it presents would find their perfect companion in Makavejev’s Čovek nije tica. Stefanović would establish himself in the realm of documentary short films for the next two decades. Jovan Živanović went on to make an astonishing collection of features, including great films such as Te noći (That Night, 1958), Čudna devojka (Strange Girl, 1962), and Gorki deo reke (The Bitter Part of the River, 1965), in which his directorial vision combined with an eye for character and unconventional dramaturgy, allowing his psychological approach to tradition and modernity to shine.

Mina Radović

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courtesy of Avala Film