In Contrast: Croatian Film Today

By Aida Vidan

© Aida Vidan, 2011

Despite decades of rich and diverse production and broad international recognition, general knowledge about Croatian film remains rather limited, in particular in the West. This seeming contradiction is not the only paradox related to Croatian cinema. Thus when Kinokultura commissioned an issue on Croatian film, my co-editor, Gordana P. Crnković, and I faced a simple yet challenging question: which year to begin with and how to explain this complex situation? To speak of Croatian film as starting only with 1991, when Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia, would mean disregarding the directors who both laid the foundations for a nascent cinema and created some of the basic orientations visible in the works of younger Croatian filmmakers. Entirely disregarding the Yugoslav polycentric film industry would provide only a partial picture since despite distinct local flavors, the regional film centers shared resources, studios, actors, film professionals, and audiences, and cooperated much more efficiently than the political structures ever did. It was necessary therefore to include this early stage in the picture.

two sunny daysThe reality is different now, however, and despite continuous collaboration within the region (immediately apparent if one checks the lists of co-producers for most films), there are many points of differentiation and these had to be explored as well. One Croatian director of the younger generation, Ognjen Sviličić, has recently said: “Today the living conditions of people in Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia are quite dissimilar. The consequence of this situation is that a Croat does not perceive a Slovenian film as a reflection of his own life.” (quoted from Anja Šošić, Film i rat u Hrvatskoj, in Zapis 64-65, 2009). In addition to the clear need for a determination of idiosyncratic features that characterize different film schools in the Balkans (in this case, one which stemmed from the Zagreb film circle), and with an eye to the earlier socialist period and a re-evaluation of film in the early stages of Croatian statehood, we also need to consider the current state of affairs. As indicated by Sviličić, the picture has changed and is continuing to change. The face of Croatian film is significantly different now compared to the early or late 1990s. With the departure of Franjo Tuđman, the first Croatian president, who held a relatively tight grip on the film industry, and with the subsequent disassociation of political and cultural structures, a stage has opened for a new group of filmmakers who have engaged both domestic and foreign audiences in ways that were previously unthinkable.
Some topics dealt with both in films of the 1990s and again in the last few years have received quite a different treatment. The recurrence of certain subjects, such as war and its broader consequences for society, could even serve as a barometer of change in the young democracy as it resulted in achievements that have transformed the landscape of Croatian film. The inclination of Croatian filmmakers toward introspective, psychological probing as a way of commenting on more general processes taking place in society was already there in the 1960s and 1970s, and in the last decade has particularly come to the fore. This orientation is, for instance, quite different from that of neighboring Serbia and even Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose film schools have thus far been more notable for their carnivalistic approach and exploitation of dark humor. This is not to say, of course, that psychological inquisitiveness is exclusive to Croatian filmmakers, or that comedy remains the principal interest of Serbian or Bosnian directors (a case in point is the recent Serbian film Huddersfield, 2007, by Ivan Živković, which turns the carnivalistic into deep psychological probing), but one can recognize these tendencies and make an attempt to look at the underlying causes that have shaped certain stylistic choices.

celestial bodyA statement by another young Croatian filmmaker, Lukas Nola, that he “belong[s] to the generation from which the war was stolen” (Škrabalo, Hrvatska filmska povijest ukratko 1896-2006, pp. 182-3) is equally telling. During the period when Croatia was being established as an independent state, several recognized members of the older generation of filmmakers, owing to their ties to the new political elite, depicted the creation of the new state with an accent on ideological rather than artistic components. Film was employed as an instrument of nation-building narrative. On the other hand, filmmakers of the younger generation, a number of whom actually served at the front and witnessed the war first-hand, did not have access to the funds necessary to translate their life experiences and their visions of a new society into celluloid form. It was only in the early 2000s, when Croatia began striding towards a more secure democracy, that some of these filmmakers received an opportunity to share their stories. New options for funding were additionally increased when Croatia became eligible, a few years ago, for Eurimage funding (the European Cinema Support Fund operating under the umbrella of the Council of Europe).

The syntagm “New Croatian Film” was coined in the late nineties by Ivo Škrabalo, one of our contributors, to include a generation that was then just graduating from the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art and establishing itself in contrast to (one could even say despite) the older practitioners of film. This new group of directors was unified not by common artistic orientation, but rather by a negative definition, since their principal shared ground was their resistance to the political pragmatism of the moment and a search for new artistic avenues with which to portray Croatian everyday life. Stylistically, however, they could not be placed in a single compartment, and their works still await an in-depth analysis for English-speaking audiences (we have included reviews of some of their works here). Such diversity of cinematic expression in the new and upcoming generation is a promising phenomenon, and most certainly one that deserves to be investigated in greater detail.

Considering this situation and the general scarcity of available information, we decided to use this opportunity to present Croatian film from both a diachronic and a synchronic perspective, leaning towards the latter. The purpose of this project is thus two-fold: to explain some of the complexities in the development of this national cinema by providing a much needed albeit succinct historical overview of the Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav period, and to offer insight into a selection of  the more interesting films of the last two decades since Croatia became an independent country. In the sparse body of contributions on South Slavic cinema, several book-length studies in English address the Croatian film industry to a degree and for this reason should be mentioned here: Daniel J. Goulding’s Liberated Cinema: The Yugoslav Experience (1985), Dina Iordanova’s Cinema of Flames: Balkan Film, Culture and the Media (2001), Pavle Levi’s Disintegration in Frames: Aesthetics and Ideology in the Yugoslav and Post-Yugoslav Cinema. (2007), and a collection edited by Andrew James Horton, The Celluloid Tinderbox: Yugoslav Screen Reflections of a Turbulent Decade (2000). While all of these volumes are outstanding contributions to a hitherto insufficiently researched area, they all share a focus on Partisan and Yugoslav-disintegration films, i.e., the war genre more than any other category, with the exception perhaps of the Serbian “black wave.” Given the political situation of the region, this is not surprising at all, but at the same time it leaves a large segment of the regional film industry unexplored, including many Croatian produced and co-produced films. Until the wars of the 1990s tore the Balkans apart, film production in this part of the world was commonly discussed under the umbrella term “Yugoslav film,” and it may seem that this trend has continued to an extent even nearly twenty years after the demise of the country. As long as Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia, trying to define the scope of its contribution in an amalgam production of the six republics would have been perceived as a political act, and would have been condemned. In fact, it was only at the zenith of Yugoslav communism that the first attempts to chronicle Croatian cinematography surfaced, most notably in a volume by Ivo Škrabalo entitled Between the Audience and the State (Između publike i države, 1985), followed by his 101 Years of Film in Croatia (101 godina filma u Hrvatskoj, 1998). Neither volume is yet available in English. This issue of Kinokultura is thus meant to bridge the gap and provide much-needed information in English about Croatian film, while keeping both its development within the Yugoslav era in perspective and focusing on those elements that are idiosyncratic and unique to it.

rondoAs is the case with many aspects of Croatian culture, the country’s film industry is in fact older than the state itself. Although its roots were planted before World War II, it started taking big strides in the early Yugoslav period, to be crowned with a series of fine achievements in the period between the 1960s and the dissolution of the country. Each of the six republics had its own film production centers (which often collaborated on more involved projects), but the final output appeared always, as Ivo Škrabalo puts it, as “the Yugoslav brand” (see his article in this issue). Internally, however, despite multiple tangential points, these productions each had their own physiognomy. During the socialist era costlier projects, in particular Partisan spectacles which had huge backing from the Communist Party, were often co-produced by studios from different republics and included artists from various localities, which made individual republics’ participation less distinct. Many other smaller budget films relied on common resources, often using actors or services from other regional centers. Still, this is not to say that each republic did not have its own full-fledged film industry and profile. Although the list of masterpieces is much longer, Croatian hallmark titles from the older period include Nikola Tanhofer’s modernist H-8 (1958), Zvonimir Berković’sdramaturgically complex Rondo (1966), Ante Babaja’s visually intricate Breza (The Birch Tree, 1967), Rajko Grlić’s politically provocative Samo jednom se ljubi (The Melody Haunts My Reverie, 1981), and Zoran Tadić’s metaphysical Ritam zločina (Rhythm of the Crime, 1981). Each of these films left an imprint not only in the region but has also been recognized as a major contribution to world cinema.

birch treeFor a film industry that had originated in a different political system—and under the “Yugoslav” heading that encapsulated a variety of approaches, several very active studios, and a number of orientations—it was risky if not impossible to insist on national identity. The establishment of Croatia in 1991 brought about a different set of political circumstances, and during this difficult period it was often filmmakers who through their work provided a healthy and humane perspective on what was happening in the war-torn country. They were frequently highly critical of official politics and this, in turn, made their work quite challenging, sometimes impossible to produce. As already mentioned, it was not easy to obtain financial support for younger filmmakers since funding was firmly controlled by the state. It was only in 2003, after the renowned film scholar Ante Peterlić became the head of the special committee dealing with national film production, that the new generation of directors saw a significant change. The situation improved further with the establishment of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre in 2008, with clearer protocols for competitions for new projects and a better strategy—albeit still in development—for the course of the national film industry. Croatian Radiotelevision has played a major part as a producer from early on, but big credit should also be given to several small independent producers who were instrumental in bringing us some of the best films from this period. In general, scarcity of independent producers (owing to transitional economy) remains one of the big obstacles for this film industry. Having survived the swings of the political pendulum and generated, for a small film industry, a number of interesting films, and finally, having reached a mature stage at which film can exist both as an engaged and de-politicized entity, Croatia is now facing a new type of hurdle: a dire economic situation that leaves meager resources for the arts in general, including film. Whether the directors and institutions will be able to navigate successfully the Scylla and Charybdis of monetary fluctuations, poor distribution, and competition with Hollywood blockbusters, remains to be seen, but if anything has been learned from the rocky history of the region, it is that interesting ideas are sometimes brought to fruition despite harsh conditions.

night in splitFor a number of reasons I have entitled this introduction and, by extension, this collection of essays “In Contrast: Croatian Film Today.” Although the articles presented here were not commissioned with the primary goal of defining Croatian cinema, our hope was nonetheless to create a more nuanced picture of a film industry that existed as a part of a larger whole and which, in the last twenty years, despite incessant practical and political obstacles, has been moving on in important ways. There are indeed multiple possible answers to the question “in contrast—to what?”:  in contrast to the earlier Yugoslav film production, to the regional film industries of the post-Yugoslav period, to other East-Central European cinemas, to the multimillion-dollar Hollywood blockbusters, to the Croatian political mainstream, to capitalist-style film production, to its own various generational and gender trends, and, finally, to different stylistic choices representing directors’ diverse Weltanschauungen and preoccupations. Visual in nature, the word “contrast” also points to a variety of cinematic approaches that have yielded movies as diverse as Arsen Ostojić’s Ta divna splitska noć (A Wonderful Night in Split, 2004), Lukas Nola’s Nebo sateliti (Celestial Body, 2001),  Kristijan Milić’s Živi i mrtvi, (The Living and the Dead, 2007), Goran Rušinović’s Buick Riviera (2008), Antonio Nuić’s Donkey (Kenjac, 2009), and Goran Dević and Zvonimir Jurić’s The Blacks (Crnci, 2009). Be it for political, artistic, or other reasons, the concept of contrast thus permeates the entire history of Croatian film, and we wish to think about and explore this particular cinema as a series of developments that reflect on and generate one another, rather than as a series of isolated phenomena.

buick rivieraTo answer in depth all the “contrasting” questions posed here would be too ambitious a goal for this collection. As the range of articles suggests, however, we have worked towards uncovering at least some of the most salient issues. We were lucky to have on board some of the best specialists in the area of South Slavic film, from whose knowledge and enthusiasm we have benefited tremendously. In addition, we decided to include several prominent film practitioners, who provided a unique “insider look” at Croatian film. History looms large in just about every aspect of the arts in recent years, film included. The six longer articles are meant to offer both a historical perspective and a closer look into the development of different film categories in Croatia (feature, documentary, animated film). Ivo Škrabalo, a veteran of film historiography, situates Croatian cinema within Yugoslav frameworks and provides the basic periodization with an analysis of genre trends, while keeping the political background very much on the radar. Jurica Pavičić concentrates on the period since Croatia became an independent country, devoting considerable attention to the interpretation of political and historical circumstances and their effects on individual films. In addition, he discusses the general impact film itself has had on its audiences in conveying particular interpretations of history and observes a parallel process of maturation that unfolds in film and society. Tomislav Kurelec considers the problems facing the industry and investigates the devastating consequences that the combination of war and a transitional economy have had on film. These two factors caused Croatia’s film infrastructure to collapse, only to be rebuilt and restructured in a relatively short period of time. The process is still ongoing.
zagreb doxDiana Nenadić writes about the enormous role documentary film played as a social corrective in the country during the last twenty years. In the war-riddled economy and on the volatile political scene it was still possible to make documentaries, and during this period many filmmakers of different generations used the camera in a true Vertovian sense. They captured the faces of a rapidly changing society, including the positive, the negative, the hidden, and the forbidden. Some of them lost their lives at the front, others had to live with threats and discrimination because the camera-eye spoke at times of unpleasant truths. Their persistence was crowned by one of the most interesting festivals in this part of the world, ZagrebDox: International Documentary Film Festival, which just completed its seventh year. In addition, Nenadić speaks with the festival’s founder and artistic director, Nenad Puhovski, who in 1996 also founded Factum: Documentary Film Project, the largest and most influential independent documentary production in the region, which has financed a number of excellent projects. Sanja Bahun explores the area of animation, an extremely important area of Croatian film, and its renowned Zagreb School, which in 1961 brought home an Academy Award for Dušan Vukotić’s Ersatz, a work that fifty years after its creation is if anything even more poignant today in its commentary on modern life. Since 1972 Zagreb has been home for the second oldest European international festival of animated film, Animafest. Although not always equally visible, the Zagreb School has remained a creative hub which is now bustling with a new generation of filmmakers exploring their ideas in the context of the latest technological possibilities. Bahun also brings us a conversation with one of the most prominent figures from Croatian animation scene, director Joško Marušić. The fact that Croatian cinema is sparsely populated with women (except when it comes to acting) made us consider the possibility of including an article that addresses this area. We reached the conclusion, however, that the situation merits closer investigation. Even when they do not sit in the director’s chair (and every now and then some do!), women have been an important driving force in many projects. A good example is the complex editing of Vinko Brešan’s award winning film Witnesses, for which credit goes to Sandra Botica Brešan. From a sociological perspective, the depiction of women in film in what is a traditional, patriarchal, and Catholic society raises an assortment of issues that Mima Simić tackles with spirit.

animafestOur interviews with Rajko Grlić and Vinko Brešan, two directors who belong to a more mature generation and who have been widely recognized outside Croatia, offer perspective on their own very interesting oeuvres, and cast light on the practical side of filmmaking in Croatia, as well as the development of the medium in its socio-historical context. It is our regret that we could not include more conversations with directors in this collection, but for those who read Croatian a series of interesting interviews can be found in Anja Šošić’s excellent study Film i rat u Hrvatskoj (Zapis 64-65, 2009).

The seventeen reviews included in this collection are specific inasmuch as they often provide a glimpse into the most relevant aspects of a director’s oeuvre (often more than one film). Although this selection had to leave out many titles worthy of mention, it does represent the core of Croatian cinema today. Reviewers coming from diverse film backgrounds have ensured a multiplicity of perspectives on the works they investigate. With the eruption of the wars of Yugoslav disintegration in the 1990s, the world was captivated by films focusing on the ongoing conflict. As Jurica Pavičić points out in his contribution to this issue, this period remains marked in particular by the films of Serbian directors such as Srđan Dragojević and (Bosnian-born) Emir Kusturica, as well as the Macedonian-American Milčo Mančevski, all of whom depicted the Balkans as the epitome of inexorable and vicious cycles of hatred. In the chaos of war that engulfed the region this is how the Balkans were perceived, and this is the perception to which the region itself catered. Discussing the general cultural ramifications of Balkan-Western relations, Slavoj Žižek calls this phenomenon “falsification by a foreign gaze” (Žižek, The Parallax View, 377). While the films were deservedly praised for their artistic accomplishments, they also generated heated debate concerning a reductionist perception of history (a theory of perpetual tribal violence that cannot be stopped) which removes any ethical and/or political responsibility for what was going on. Despite these issues (and it should also be noted that there are  different interpretations, see for instance, Gordana P. Crnković’s “Milcho Manchevski’s Before the Rain and the Ethics of Listening,” Slavic Review 70, no.1, 2011), it is important that such artistic visions of the 1990s exist. What is not good, however, is that very few other voices reverberated quite so loudly partially because the Balkans no longer draw the type of political attention they did in the 1990s. The films coming from this corner of the world may be as good or even better, but they do not have the political propeller pushing them to the fore. And to say that politics does not matter would be an equally reductive view.

sorry for kung fuOur attempt here was to convey at least a part of the very diverse palette of topics that occupies Croatian filmmakers, and to weaken, if not entirely erase, the aura of “otherness.” Even when it comes to the war, the films reviewed here provide a different vision from those that captivated the world in the 1990s and reflect a variety of styles by filmmakers as dissimilar as Krsto Papić, Rajko Grlić, Vinko Brešan, Lukas Nola, Kristijan Milić, Goran Dević, and Zvonimir Jurić. Many other topics, however, loom large on Croatian screens: the possibility of a gay relationship in a conservative environment (Dalibor Matanić), a woman’s position in a provincial patriarchal milieu, the westernizing of transitional societies and exploitation of war trauma (Ognjen Sviličić), the destabilization of basic units of society—family, community, friendship networks (Antonio Nuić), the relativization of gender roles through the spectacles of irony (Snježana Tribuson), a lost generation refracted—albeit in contrasting ways—through the problems of drugs and suicide (Arsen Anton Ostojić, Goran Dukić), the past as agony transposed (Goran Rušinović), the misplaced values of a society in transition (Zrinko Ogresta, Tomislav Radić, Branko Schmidt)—to give just a quick glimpse of the thematic range of the films selected for review here. What becomes immediately apparent is how many of these themes are pertinent in other European film industries, and, with the possible exception of narratives of a war-traumatized society, how little “otherness” there is in them. We can monitor exactly what is conveyed by the title of Jurica Pavičić’s article: a process moving “from a cinema of hatred to a cinema of consciousness.” The variety of wonderfully different films attests not only to enviable artistic capabilities despite abysmal financial circumstances, but also to the fact that this corner of the world has been much richer and more complex—even in terms of its cinema—than the general perception of it has allowed. What we are seeing in the last few years is a gradual orientation away from war topics and towards themes of the everyday. The fate of those on the margins dominate the narratives at times, but more and more frequently directors are reaching for “the next-door” type of story (Sviličić’s Sorry for Kung Fu and his most recent Two Sunny Days, Nuić’s Donkey,Hribar’s What is a Man Without a Moustache, Ogresta’s Behind the Glass, Radić’s What Iva Recorded, and Grlić’s Just Between Us). Such narratives of the ordinary have yielded some of the best movies of recent years in the non-commercial segment of European production, and my prediction is that Croatian cinema too will be increasingly looking in this direction.

behind the glassAt the end of an introduction for a collection of this profile, the somewhat subversive question arises of whether the notion of national cinema is needed at all. In an age when small film industries rely heavily on co-producing as sometimes the only possible modus operandi, why do we need relative denominations such as Croatian, Bosnian, Romanian, Turkish, or, for that matter, any other cinema? Even during the process of editing this issue, we have (not surprisingly) run into a situation so well captured in Adela Peeva’s documentary Whose is This Song? (Чия е тази песен?, 2003): one song—or in our case one film—belonging to several countries. This is becoming more the rule than the exception, especially for countries operating under the umbrella of Eurimage. The most recent example of such cooperation is a project entitled Love Island (Otok ljubavi) by Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanić’s, which received the bulk of its funding from Croatia, where the story takes place and the film will be shot. It is interesting that on the list of Croatian co-productions this year we also find the name of Peter Greenaway, whose next film Goltzius and the Pelican will also be shot in the northern part of the country. For the film industry of a country with extraordinarily filmic landscapes, strong studios (we need only recall how many foreign films used the services of Jadran Film during the socialist era), and a lower cost of living than in the West, there may be—for once—some advantages. Providing partial funding and services for foreign filmmakers is a creative way to boost the country’s film industry, but whether a given film should be regarded as belonging to this or that category depends more on the world depicted in the film, its language, who the director is, etc. and far less on the financing. For a region which has its differences but also many things in common, the trend of co-productions is likely to continue. 

pulaThere is the question of audience as well which, despite being divided by borders and some linguistic differences, remains far more interested in a good film than in its origin. It is indicative that just days prior to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (consisting then of Serbia and Montenegro) in 1999, one of the most prominent Serbian directors, Srđan Dragojević, was invited to be a guest at Zagreb’s Kinoteka (the principal Croatian cinephile institution) for a screening of his provocative film Wounds (Rane, 1998). Croatian-produced films can thus count on wider regional audiences, just as can those from the other ex-Yugoslav republics. Even the two most renowned festivals in the country, the national film festival in Pula and the international Motovun Film Festival, both taking place in July on the northern Croatian peninsula of Istria, have a contrasting component in the sense that the former is the festival of Croatian national cinema and the latter an alternative stage open to Croatian, regional, and world film. The Pula festival was established in 1954 as the festival of Yugoslav film, and as of 1991 continued as a festival of Croatian film with a European dimension. Motovun is younger, established in 1999, and was conceived in the first decade of Croatian statehood when an insistence on political uniformity precluded many interesting regional films from being shown on the principal stage in Pula. Although Motovun maintains the true spirit of a teenage rebel showing innovative, provocative, and artistically charged titles from around the world, Pula too is beginning to depart from the narrowly defined concept of a national film forum and seems inclined to open its doors to more versatile programs. For a small country to have two major film festivals in such close temporal and geographic proximity may seem superfluous, but whoever has visited both will quickly come to the conclusion that they complement one another in effective ways.

motovunAs we can see from this brief analysis of production and audiences, the question of a national cinema is a loaded one, as has been underscored in Andrew Higson’s much quoted article “The Concept of National Cinema” (Screen 30, no 4, 1989) published just as Eastern Europe was beginning to redraw its borders. This concept has been made even more relevant with regard to Southeastern Europe, but also to other countries, such as Germany and Turkey, which in recent years have yielded a number of co-productions (largely owing to the considerable Turkish immigrant population in Germany) and successfully created a cinematic bridge between the two cultures. Why then should we continue insisting on the concept of national cinema in a time of transnational productions? There is no simple answer to this question, as a now hefty literature on the subject would suggest. However a quote from the interview with Rajko Grlić in this issue helps put things in perspective: “Cinemas have disappeared and we have multiplexes and one hundred American films which hold on tight to 95% of the world screens. There is only 5% of the cinematic space in the world for you to enter with a non-studio film. There are about 2000 films competing for 5% of the space.”

motovunAlthough at times national cinemas have been used (and abused) as an apparatus for establishing national narratives, in more democratic environments they are needed as an inoculation against commercial networks—in much the same way that festivals are turning into venues for showing non-commercial films that cannot be seen anywhere else. Small national cinemas thus operate as a counterforce to uniformity and often reject the notion of entertainment as their primary raison d’être. From this there follow aesthetic idiosyncrasies, but also a type of political and social engagement with their local cultures which question (or at times support) prevalent discourses in society, a dimension largely absent from commercial and globalizing productions such as Hollywood. It is beyond any doubt that Croatian cinema has served exactly this function over the past twenty years. It has also brought local flavors and stories with ethical dimensions about ordinary people, and it is such stories, to quote Vinko Brešan and Rajko Grlić once again, that are essential for films with universal appeal. If Croatian cinema continues to move in this direction, we should eagerly anticipate its new titles.


This project has benefited from the support of many individuals and institutions. First and foremost, we would like to express our gratitude to an inspiring team of collaborators, in particular to Diana Nenadić who helped at every step of the process, as well as to Vera Robić, the Croatian Film Clubs’ Association (Hrvatski filmski savez) and the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (Hrvatski audiovizualni centar), our principal associates on the Croatian shore. We are thankful to Hrvoje Turković of the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb (Akademija dramskih umjetnosti), and to Nikica Gilić of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (Filozofski fakultet) for providing contacts and suggestions in the early phase of the project; to Jurica Pavičić of University of Split for informal conversations and exchanges on film which broadened our perspectives immensely, and to Ivo Škrabalo for his hospitality and his crash course on film and politics. We wish we could share with our readers more of the atmosphere and spirit in which the interviews presented here took place, and we would like to thank the directors—Vinko Brešan, Rajko Grlić, Joško Marušić, and Nenad Puhovski—for exciting conversations and for allowing us glimpses into their world. Very special thanks go to Caryl Emerson of Princeton University and Svetlana Boym of Harvard University for their unwavering support of this project, as well as to our language editor Ellen Elias Bursać, who has navigated tirelessly and elegantly between the two languages. This project has received support from the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, with funding through the National Endowment for the Humanities. We express our appreciation to these institutions and especially to Sarah Krueger, who helped us with many practical aspects of the grant. Both the Pula and Motovun film festivals made their screenings and forums open to us in the summer of 2010, for which we offer our deep thanks.