April 13 – 15, 2012, at the Aero Theatre
Only months after the Lumiere Brothers dazzled Paris with their tiny magical moving pictures, cinema arrived in the Croatian capital of Zagreb on October 3, 1896. More than a century later, the Croatian film industry has persevered, and neither political, societal nor financial hurdles were able to silence the voices of Croatian filmmakers. In 1961, Croatia's first Academy Award went to animated short "The Substitute" (Surogat) by Dušan Vukotic. The honor brought worldwide acclaim to the Zagreb School of Animation, which utilized a new aesthetic, based on avant-garde abstract painting, constructivism and cubism.
Deeply rooted in the country's national literature, Croatian films reflect Central European attitudes about artistic expression. Life is typically portrayed realistically and budgets are slim. In the 1990s, after the Homeland War, a new era of cinema emerged within a newly independent Croatia. The new generation - Brešan, Ogresta, Salaj, Nola, Schmidt, Hribar, Ostojic, Matanic - used cinema not only to express their own dramatic experiences during the war, but to deliver a portrait of contemporary life in a newly independent country. Since then, even more strident and modern filmmakers have emerged, such as Svilicic and Marasovic. This year’s New Croatian Cinema series lineup includes Croatian box-office hit and family adventure KOKO AND THE GHOSTS, directed by Daniel Kusan; Rajko Grlic’s farcical romantic comedy romp JUST BETWEEN US; Nevio Marasovic’s debut feature about the world’s last reality show, THE SHOW MUST GO ON; Branko Ivanda’s LEA AND DARIJA, a moving drama about a friendship between teenage ballerinas on the eve of World War II; and Vinko Bresan’s kinky black comedy WILL NOT STOP THERE.
Series compiled by Gwen Deglise, Margaux Magis, Branko Lustig and Matko B. Malinger.
Adapted from Branka Somen's text, translated by Ziggy Mrkich. Additional program notes by Margaux Magis and Beth Hanna.