Pirika on Film

Technical data
53 min, HD

A biographical video essay on Pirika, a strong-willed woman living in Serbia, made 44 years after she appeared as a child actor in the short documentary film Little Pioneers and the Golden Bear-winning feature film Early Works, both directed by Želimir Žilnik. Growing up on the streets of Novi Sad, flirting with an accidental acting career, struggling through multiple failed relationships, even losing contact with her only daughter, this is the story of Pirika reconstructing her life through the regenerative power of cinema. During a climactic scene in which she visits Kino Arsenal in Berlin where a retrospective screening of the film Early Works is taking place, Pirika reunites with her onetime director Žilnik on stage and also her estranged daughter.

Žilnik assembles this video essay by freely mixing docu-drama with discussion-style interviews between various characters. A picture is painted of Pirika, but also of the post-socialist condition as it affects the lives of both young and old in Serbia and Germany. The final scene of the video essay takes place in front of large statues of Marx and Engels, who loom over an impromptu conversation about the checkered pasts and potential futures of those who lived under the influence of communist parties. For people like Pirika, it is a question of finding the proper angle in which to rummage through garbage bins for a means of survival.


Written and directed by: Želimir Žilnik
Director of photography: Miodrag Milošević
Edited by: Vuk Vukmirović
Composer: Gabriella Benak
Sound design: Filip Vlatković
Producer: Sarita Matijević

Participants: Piroška Čapko, Teodora Tabački, Gabriella Benak, Biljana Stanković

Production: Playground produkcija, Novi Sad


Photographs from the film