November 29 – December 26, 2000

American Cinematheque presents...

Wednesdays In Croatia

We’re pleased to welcome to the Egyptian directors Vinko Brešan, Krsto Papic, Vatroslav Mimica and Z. Gasparovic and actor Goran Višnjic!

Presented in association with CAMEO (Croatian Arts, Media & Entertainment Organization.)

Series Compiled by Gwen Deglise and Dennis Bartok.

Special thanks to: Matko Brljevic, Branko Lustig, Marija Miletic, Andrea Balen, Jack Baric, CAMEO, Croatian Ministry of Culture and Consulate General in Los Angeles, Croatian National Association.

Tickets available 30 days in advance.

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Since the 1960’s, modern Croatian cinema has combined a haunting, angry, often savagely-bleak outcry against political and personal repression with the humor, lyricism and tenderness born of constant conflict and adversity.

The Wednesdays in Croatia Film Series revisits classics of Croatian cinema with films from the most important directors from the 1960’s, including Vatroslav Mimica’s KAJA I'LL KILL YOU, Ante Babaja’s THE BIRCH TREE, Krsto Papic’s HANDCUFFS and Zvonimir Berkovic’s RONDO, and explores the new cinema of the Young Croatian Film Group, the generation influenced by the war, with Vinko Brešan’s satirical comedy MARSHAL and Goran Rušinovic’s independent drama MONDO BOBO. Plus, our series features a tribute to the Zagreb School, one of the most acclaimed centers for animation in Europe.

Wednesday, November 29 - 7:00 PM

Los Angeles Premiere! Director Vinko Brešan In Person! Official Croatian Academy Award Submission!

MARSHAL, 1999, Interfilm, 97 min. A major box office success in Croatia, director Vinko Brešan’s MARSHAL also stirred a passionate debate at home, since the central character is the ghost of dictator Marshal Tito, who suddenly and mysteriously appears in a remote island community. Old communists and new capitalists try to take advantage of the situation, in this savage (and very funny) satirical comedy. "The film is about our relationship to history… It's a comedy. It wasn't intended as a political statement. Even the approach I adopted is more of a caricatured, stylised representation of reality and cannot therefore be seen as cinematic realism." -- Vinko Brešan. Discusion following with director Vinko Brešan.

Wednesday, November 29 - 9:30 PM

RONDO, 1966, Jadran Film, 90 min. The screenwriter Zvonimir Berkovic made his debut as a director with RONDO, which remains his most important film and a classic of Croatian cinema. Every Sunday, the lonely bachelor and sophisticated judge Mladen (Stevo Zigon), comes to play chess with his friend, the sculptor Fedja (Relja Bašic), and gradually he falls into an affair with the sculptor’s wife Neda (Milena Dravic). The chess board is the center of the film, the moves mirroring the emotional developments of the characters. "I remain a frustrated musician entirely obsessed by the desire to use the film medium to obtain the perfection of musical compositional forms." -- Zvonimir Berkovic.

 

Wednesday, December 6 - 7:00 PM

Tribute to Director Krsto Papic In-Person!

HAMLET, A LITTLE VILLAGE SHOW (PREDSTAVA HAMLETA U MRDUŠI DONJOJ), 1973, Jadran Film, 88 min. In the rocky village of Mrduša Donja, all the villagers are rehearsing Shakespeare's Hamlet to celebrate the anniversary of the president's election. Amusing and grotesque, Hamlet becomes a folk drama revealing the true nature of its real-life cast. Krsto Papic has received high praise for his masterly direction of this film. Discussion following with director Krsto Papic. [This print did not arrive for the scheduled 12/6 screening. It will be shown instead at 7:00 PM on 12/26. If Krsto Papic can stay in town, he will speak at the screening.]

Wednesday, December 6 - 9:15 PM

Double Feature!! Tribute to Director Krsto Papíc In Person!

WHEN THE DEAD START SINGING, 1999, Jadran Film, 106 min. LA PREMIERE! Papic’s most recent film is a bittersweet comedy about two Croatian emigrants (Ivo Gregurevic and Ivica Vidovic) who are traveling back to their homeland, longing for their families, love and a peaceful life. Along the way, the Mafia and secret police make their journey a difficult adventure -- but the most dangerous events are still to come, when they arrive home to face the war in Croatia. Winner of the award for Best Director at Comedy Festival, Aspen and Best Film at the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival.

HANDCUFFS (LISICE), 1969, Jadran Film, 75 min. In a small village in the sterile and rocky Karst region, a wedding procession is disturbed by the presence of two local executioners hunting Stalinist sympathizers. Like avenging angels, the executioners seize Andrija, a revered village leader, throwing the town into deadly confusion. A visually stunning, emotionally terrifying portrait of human brutality from one of Croatia's foremost documentary filmmakers, Krsto Papic, who achieved international acclaim with this film. Director Krsto Papic will introduce screening of WHEN THE DEAD START SINGING. [This print did not arrive for the scheduled 12/6 screening. It will be shown instead at 9:15 PM on 12/26. If Krsto Papic can stay in town, he will speak at the screening. WHEN THE DEAD START SINGING WILL NOT REPEAT.]

*Please note that this is the correct order of films on this day. The order was changed after the printed calendar went to press.

Wednesday, December 13 - 7:00 PM

Vatroslav Mimica & Zdenko Gasparovic In Person!

ZAGREB SCHOOL OF ANIMATION PROGRAM (74 min.)

The Zagreb School, which reached its peak in the 1960's, is considered one of the most modernist European animated film schools and produced some of the most important animated short films of its time.

Opening Night (Premijera), 1958, 10 min, dir. Nikola Kostelac. At the opera the real show is watching the audience. The Fly (Muha)1966, 8 min, dir. Aleksandar Marks & Vladimir Jutrisa. The relationship between a fly and a man, written by Vatroslav Mimica. Small Chronicle (Mala Kronika) 1962, 10 min, dir. Vatroslav Mimica. A blind man and his dog play music while pedestrians and cars go by. Satiemania, 1978, 16 min, dir. Zdenko Gasparovic. Inspired by the music of Erik Satie, a symphony of colors, lines and atmosphere. Fisheye (Riblje Oko), 1980, 10 min, dir. Josko Marusic. One night the fish take over the fishermen's village. The Cat, 1971, 11 min, dir. Zlatko Bourek. An odd idyll between a young poet and his cat transformed by Venus into a gorgeous girl. The Ersatz (Surogat), 1961, 9 min, dir. Dusan Vutovic. 1962 Academy Award winner. On the beach a tourist inflates a whole world. Learning To Walk (Skola Hodanja) 1978, 8 min, dir. Borivij Dovnikovic. A kid receives lessons on how to walk from four different persons.

 

Wednesday, December 13 - 9:30 PM

Tribute to Vatroslav Mimica In Person!!

KAJA, I'LL KILL YOU (KAJA, UBIT CU TE), 1967, Jadran Film, 87 min. Dir. Vatroslav Mimica. An idealized Dalmatian town on the Adriatic Coast enjoys peace for the last three centuries, until almost unannounced, the black uniformed Facists arrive. An ordinary shopkeeper, Kaja, watches as the shadows of oppression spread quickly across his town – until one day, his lifelong friend (and Fascist convert) Piele makes his way to Kaja 's shop and announces "Kaja, I'll kill you!" The film is built upon a complex series of motifs, in which the ruined and desolated town is contrasted with its former graceful, civilized and harmonious past. Director Vatroslav Mimica to introduce the screening. Producer Branko Lustig will not be able to come to Los Angeles for the screening as was previously announced.

 

Wednesday, December 20 - 7:00 PM

THE BIRCH TREE,(BREZA), 1967, Jadran Film, 100 min. A classic of Croatian cinema and director Ante Babaja's most important film, THE BIRCH TREE is inspired by a folk painting which recounts the tragic death of a beautiful but frail peasant girl, Janica (Manca Košir), who is metaphorically linked to the slender and vulnerable birch tree. Brilliant and beautiful lensing by Tomislav Pinter, one of the best Croatian cameramen. A portrait of the peasant life laced with tragedy, humor and sentiment.

 

Wednesday, December 20 - 9:15 PM

Actor Goran Višnjic in-person!

SEE YOU, 1993, Jadran Film, 70 min. One of the Young Croatian Film group, Ivan Salaj's graduation project displays his personal attitude toward the war in a slightly morbid tale about the friendship and fate of five young men. Andre, Maks (Goran Višnjic), Mislav and Kruno meet after a long absence at their friend Borna’s funeral, who was killed while in the National Guard. The four friends decide to steal his coffin from the cemetery and bury it in the forest, according to their previous childhood agreement. Actor Goran Višnjic to introduce the screening.

MONDO BOBO,1997, DSL Film, 80 min. One of the first truly independent Croatian films, directed by Goran Rušinovic. A stylish black and white crime drama inspired by the films of Jim Jarmusch and Shunya Tsukamoto, MONDO BOBO was based on the case of Vinko Pintaric, a serial killer who escaped from prison and evaded the grasp of police for several years. In Rušinovic’s hands, the story becomes a parable of a maladjusted young man who flees to escape a group of blackmailers and extortionists.

 

Tuesday, December 26 - 7:00 PM

HAMLET, A LITTLE VILLAGE SHOW (PREDSTAVA HAMLETA U MRDUŠI DONJOJ), 1973, Jadran Film, 88 min. In the rocky village of Mrduša Donja, all the villagers are rehearsing Shakespeare's Hamlet to celebrate the anniversary of the president's election. Amusing and grotesque, Hamlet becomes a folk drama revealing the true nature of its real-life cast. Krsto Papic has received high praise for his masterly direction of this film. Discussion following with director Krsto Papic.

Tuesday, December 26 - 9:1 PM

HANDCUFFS (LISICE), 1969, Jadran Film, 75 min. In a small village in the sterile and rocky Karst region, a wedding procession is disturbed by the presence of two local executioners hunting Stalinist sympathizers. Like avenging angels, the executioners seize Andrija, a revered village leader, throwing the town into deadly confusion. A visually stunning, emotionally terrifying portrait of human brutality from one of Croatia's foremost documentary filmmakers, Krsto Papic, who achieved international acclaim with this film.