14 July 2010

ŽELIMIR ŽILNIK RETROSPECTIVE

One of the highlights of this year’s Dokufest will be the retrospective of the acclaimed Yugoslav filmmaker Želimir Žilnik.

11 films, including his early short documentaries, the first part of his Kenedi Trilogy “Kenedi goes back home” as well as his most recent film “Old School of Kapitalism” will be screened as part of the retrospective dedicated to the master.

Želimir Žilnik, born in 1942 and lawyer by education, is a truly unique and perhaps one of the most important filmmakers ever to emerge from a country once known as Yugoslavia. His always politically aware, socially engaged, sharply critical and visually expressive films have earned him many critical accolades and many problems with various forms of censorship, both at home and abroad.

He first became noticed in Yugoslavia in the mid-sixties with a series of short documentaries offering an unflinching, naturalistic look upon the everyday life in rural and semi-urban environments; something unthinkable for the self-glorifying socialist principles that applied to all arts, especially cinema, at the time. Žilnik’s rise to international fame followed very shortly afterwards, when his debut feature Rani Radovi (Early Works, 1969) won the prestigious Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin film festival. He is credited as one of the forerunners and creators of the once notorious and now famous Yugoslav Black Wave movement which gave birth to some of the finest examples of Yugoslav cinema.

The Kenedi Trilogy is perhaps Žilnik’s most intimate and definitely one of his most important cinematic achievements.

An account of Yugoslavs who left their worn-torn country in the nineties to spend over ten years in Western Europe as refugees or in an asylum. In the second half of 2002 the European Union started sending many of these people, mostly Roma, back to Serbia and Montenegro, believing there was no more reason for their stay abroad.

Whole families were being departed overnight, regardless of the fact that the majority of children born in the West had already completely integrated with the new environment and spoke other languages better than their mother tongue

Main protagonists of this inhumane story are Kenedi Hasani – a kind, witty, resourceful and almost pathologically optimistic street rat – and his younger, seemingly more cultivated and educated friend, who spent his entire life in Germany and is now forced to rummage among the shanty towns of Serbia in seek for his parents.

Jurij Meden


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