04 June - 17 June 2018
As part of Želimir Žilnik exhibition “Shadow Citizens”, more than 20 Žilnik’s films will be available for online viewing. Many of these are rarely screened, and all are being made available online to this extent for the first time. The films trace various periods and different working conditions within Žilnik’s practice. They are organized in five sections, each available for viewing during the exhibition for two weeks.
The descriptions of the films were composed using material provided by Želimir Žilnik, primarily through several long conversations in Novi Sad and Zagreb, which extended over many months. They are stories that follow the curiosity of the curators surrounding Žilnik’s memories of the experiences of making each film, which he patiently and generously shared. As personal traces such as these open up future research and interpretations, the particular method of their collection, if there was one, was described by Želimir with yet another story: “As Mao Zedong said to his successor Hua Guofeng: With you in charge of business, I can relax.”
Belgrade 2041 is an abandoned and devastated city covered in garbage. A couple of old men live there: a former journalist with his daughter, an ex politician with his wife and a former policeman who guards a boarding house with eight girls. The old men bring up the girls in the spirit of the tradition of former Yugoslav nations, which is a risky business because the Southern Europe is being ravaged by the band which forbids any sort of remembering the past. The story starts at the moment when the former journalist and the remaining denizens start an action to revive Belgrade in order to mark one century of the peoples’- liberation fight of Yugoslavia in the Second World War.
In the centre of this docudrama are the events and tensions of the shooting of a feature film about Belgrade in the future. The director sets up unrealistic requirements to the producer, who breaks the law by overstepping the budget. During a court trial where the crew members are at the witness stand, we follow up the drama of how a film is made.
One night, Zilnik picks up a group of homeless men from the streets of Novi Sad and takes them home. While they enjoy themselves in his home, the film maker tries to "solve the problem of the homeless" carrying along a film camera as a witness. He speaks to social workers, ordinary people. He even addresses policemen. They all close their eyes in front of the "problem".
The two heroines of the film, Vera and Eržika, have been working for “Trudbenik” textile factory in Pančevo since they were thirteen. Now that they are almost retired they face numerous problems and misunderstandings. According to the decisions of the newly adopted Law on pension, only work from the age of fifteen is recognized. In order for the two of them to go to retirement they formally need two more years to work. Starting from this problem as the source of the dramatic conflict, the film represents emotional states of the heroines, their families, relationships with their colleagues, a spectrum of moods and thoughts of people who have come to the end of their working age.