Jolly Cinema > 09:00

Čovjek bez lica/ZENICA


Sunday 26/06/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Bahrudin Bato Čengić raises questions of crime, punishment, family and responsibility to an existential level as he probes the inner world of the incarcerated. Following the life inside a prison facility the film is built audiovisually: footsteps and metal clinks, a minimalist score, and non-diegetic voiceover form the soundscape while a tracking camera scans body language, focusing on the back of heads, hands, feet, figures in motion, and objects within space. The narrator asks questions, demands, and admonishes the prisoners. If Osmanli hinted at it, Čengić makes the voice of conscience a character. Furthermore, Čengić – rather than seeking a social critique of the prison system – is concerned with the more intricate study of the internal prison in(to) which man locks himself through crime and how this leads to a loss of personhood. This results in the film’s powerful visual deletion of the human face. Čovjek bez lica announces the director’s unique cinema and makes for one of the all-time great short films.

Mina Radović

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Bato Čengić. F.: Đorđe Jolić. M.: Manja Fuks. Mus.: Kiril Makedonski. Prod.: Nikola Durdević per Sutjeska Film. 35mm. D.: 18’. Bn.


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

Cast and Credits

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.