Screening 3

21 May - 03 June

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.”

WHW interview with Želimir Žilnik, april 2018

Film reference

Paradise. An Imperialist Tragicomedy (Paradies. Eine imperialistische Tragikomödie)

Synopsis

A multinational company owned by Mrs Judit Angst is facing financial difficulties: she decides to hire a group of young anarchists to fake her "kidnapping". After a couple of weeks spent in confinement she will be able to justify the downfall of her company before the people and at the same time to gain the status of the opponent to the destruction and chaos. A direct inspiration for the film was the fake kidnapping of Peter Lorenz, a right-wing politician from Berlin in the early seventies. Lorenz spent two weeks in "captivity" of the "Bewegung 2. Juni" terrorist group, and then he managed to escape and exploit the whole case for the benefit of his election campaign.

Little Pioneers

Synopsis

Socially neglected children, taking care of themselves, they dare go stealing and break the law. They argue with parents who neither understand them nor do they have feelings for them. As a counterpoint to this story we see a TV show where a popular actor-entertainer Gula (Dragoljub Milosavljevic) addresses happy and care-free children.

Early Works

Synopsis

In an allegoric manner "Early Works" recount a story of young people who took part in student demonstrations in June 1968 in Belgrade. Three young men and a girl, Yugoslava, defy the petit-bourgeois routine of everyday life. Wishing to "change the world", inspired by the writings of young Karl Marx, they go to the country and to factories to "wake up people’s consciousness", to encourage them in their fight for emancipation and life worth living. Being in field they face primitivism and squalor, but they show their own limits, weaknesses, incapacity and jealousy. They get arrested. Frustrated because the planned revolution has not been realised, the three young men decide to eliminate Yugoslava, who is the witness of their impotence. They shoot her, cover her with the party flag, burn her body and a dark pillar of smoke going up into the sky is the only thing that remains of the intended revolution.

June Turmoil

Synopsis

The film is documenting student demonstrations in Belgrade in June 1968. It was shot for the most part in the court of Kapetan Mišino Zdanje (Faculty of Philosophy building), where students gathered up and where famous artists participated thus showing solidarity with the students.

One Woman – One Century

Synopsis

This is a documentary film based on statements, interviews and reconstruction. The life story of Dragica Srzentić casts the light on a number of events and persons relevant for Yugoslav history before and after World War II. The look at a century-long life of a woman-hero gives us an insight into the rarely mentioned segments of ex-Yugoslav intellectual and ideological maze of the eight states in which this Istrian-born woman has lived (Austria-Hungary, Kingdom of Italy, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, NDH, FNRJ, SFRJ, Croatia, Serbia).

In view of Dragica Srzentić’s experiences as a member of the Yugoslav resistance during the Nazi occupation, her frequent uttered remark is more than a comment on her own longevity. One woman – one century: a personal account inseparable from the turbulent history of Eastern Europe during World War Two and the aftermath. The interviewee went underground, fled, got arrested and tortured, cheated death more than once. Yet her words resonate with humor and dignity rather than anger or sadness. Želimir Žilnik gives Srzentić’s stories time, supplementing them with footage of his subject’s journey to a parade in Moscow or inserting animated sequences that underscore her achievements.