Who’s Afraid of Alice in Wonderland?

By Ana Janković Piljić (Belgrade)

© Ana Janković Piljić, 2009

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.
Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't
Lewis Carol in Alice in Wonderland

When we speak about the cinema industry of one country, or of one people, it requires defining certain concepts (nation, statehood, cinema industry), and placing them into a certain context (historical, geographical, political, representational). In other words, it requires knowledge of the history of the people and a history of cinema in a much broader sense. When Serbia is in question, all this becomes very complicated if someone does not know the circumstances of the Balkans.The story of the “new Serbian cinema” begins with ground zero in the year 2000. Of course, the adjective new discloses that a history of the state and its cinema had already existed before that year; “Serbian cinema” had, indeed, existed before 2000.

The history of the cinema industry in the Balkans began precisely here, in Serbia, as early as 1896. Only five months after the first cinematograph projection in Paris, Andre Carre, a representative of the Lumière brothers, screened an almost identical program of moving pictures in Belgrade’s theatre, The Golden Cross (Zlatni krst). Carre was also the first man to actually shoot films in Serbia. At that time, there was great interest among foreign film producers in events in Serbia since this country has never been boring.

That is how historically significant films were created—such as The Assassination of the Serbian Royal Family (Ubistvo srpske kraljevske porodice) by the brothers Pathé, which has not been preserved. It was filmed immediately after the coup d’état in 1903. The first preserved film document about our state was made in Belgrade in 1904, The Coronation of the King Peter I of Serbia (Krunisanje kralja Petra I Karadjordjevića) shot by Arnold Muir Wilson and released September 1904 in Belgrade.

The first Serbian feature film was In the Kingdom of Terpsichore (U carstvu Tepsihore), made by Ernest Bošnjak in 1906 which unfortunately has also not been preserved. The second feature The Cheerful Blacksmiths (Raspoloženi kovači) by Alexander Lifka is lost as well, while in 1911 the owner of a Belgrade hotel and the Paris cinema, Svetozar Botorić with Ilija ‘Čiča’ Stanojević, founded The Union for the Production of Serbian films (Udruženje za snimanje srpskih filmova). That same year, two additional films, The Life and Deeds of the Immortal Leader Karadjordje (Život i dela besmrtnog vozda Karadjordja) which has survived up to this day and Urlih of Cetinje and Vladislav Hunyadi (Urlih Cetinjski i Vladislav Hunjadi) were made. The director of these films was Ilija ‘Čiča’ Stanojević and the cinematographer was Louis de Beery.

The following year, 1912, De Beery, in a production of the brothers Savić, would film another feature The Pitiable Mother (Jadna Majka). In Novi Sad, during the World War I, in 1915, Vladimir Tomović shot the films The Saviour (Spasilac) and The Detective as a Thief (Detektiv kao lopov), before he was drafted and killed in battle. During this brief period, when the above-mentioned films were being made, there were two Balkan wars and one world war. This is how exciting it was in the land of Serbia, which, after 1918, became a part of the first Balkan country—The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

The official history of Yugoslav cinema industry is launched with the film Slavica in 1946, after another war, World War II and the creation of Yugoslavia. The genesis of cinema in this region is directly related to the founding of the new Balkan state of Yugoslavia, and cinema is thus involved in establishing the new country’s mythology. In spite of this unpromising basis for the creation of cinema, shortly afterwards, in the 1950s, Serbia already had directors like Vladimir Pogačić who could stand on equal footing with major European filmmakers. One of the paradoxes of film in Socialist Yugoslavia (1945–1990) was that—in spite of significant pressure from the authorities and ensuing censorship especially in Serbia, nevertheless, out of a total of 890 completed titles, 549 were produced in Serbia or were Serbian co-productions. And then there was the fatal year 1990 and a new war. As always, cinema foretold the historical course of events: the last national film festival in Pula and its collapse meant the beginning of the civil war in Yugoslavia.[1]

As far as 1990s were concerned, it was a decade of war and horrors and an attempt to continue the existence of filmmaking and cinema. Apart from all the mentioned and unmentioned cinematic paradoxes in Serbia, film has always been a messenger of what was to become history, and not the other way round. And then... the year 2000, when new Serbian cinema gained its independence, six years before the state did in 2006.

In western countries with developed film industries “independent cinema” usually implies a larger degree of production freedom, both financial and creative. However, in the communist countries, especially in Serbia before 2000, each attempt to make an independent film presented a mission impossible, something no one would even think of attempting. What was it that the “New Serbian cinema” became independent from? Serbia became independent from the dictatorship and terror of Slobodan Milošević’s regime, which had pushed the country into war and isolation that lasted 15 years, culminating in the NATO bombing of 1999. Serbian cinema liberated itself from ideological terror and censorship—from the political “purges” of the cinema industry, which had forced the intellectual elite into mental and physical isolation, whereby an authentic filmmaking spirit had became only an individual half-censored creative endeavor. Above all, independent cinema started to free itself from the financial constraints which controlled the cinema industry of the different Yugoslavias that disappeared and reappeared between 1990 and 2000.

The Demise of Patriarchy in New Serbian Cinema

dorcol Since 2000, as Serbia was coming to grips with its reduced political and economic clout, and its growing awareness of the necessity to negotiate with international norms and institutions (NATO, EU, UN…), it was clear that the new state was searching for a new identity. It was very telling that the first independent Serbian film appeared precisely in 2000. A new decade of “fighting for independence” in a literal and symbolic sense commenced with the premiere of the film Dorcol-Manhattan (Dorćol-Menhetn) in the Theatre of the Yugoslav Cinemathèque (by the way, the oldest cinemathèque in Europe).  The film was obstructed in every way and at all stages of production and postproduction.   The fast and sudden fall of Milošević gave everything, including the distribution of this film (even outside the country) a new context. Dorcol-Manhattan is a teenage comedy about the bombing of Serbia, viewed from a “female perspective.” It was written and directed by a woman—which for Serbia was also a precedent. Isidora Bjelica, a provocative and subversive author of many books, plays, and shows, dealt a blow to the stuffy domestic and the hypocritical foreign cinema by completing one of the lowest-budgeted films ever made. This film was the beginning of a new trend in Serbian cinema that would develop in the future and that now, several years later, has culminated in the eagerly awaited film Tears for Sale (Čarlston za Ognjenku,2008).

A new tendency in Serbian cinema is the creation of a new identity of statehood through a female subject—making a unique “counter film” which represents a subversion of the patriarchal discourse within Serbian cinema by using a specific feminocentric narrative. Even though this new type of “counter film” that introduced a few women filmmakers (directors and scriptwriters) was a major advance since the year 2000, the new narrative would become typical not only for women filmmakers. The feminocentric narrative and its self-ironic subversive potential is something that is leading to a real rejuvenation of the new Serbian film art.
 
The eventual withering away of the patriarchal discourse in the new Serbian cinema since 2000 (especially with the founding  of the joint state of Serbia and Montenegro and finally the independent Serbian state) does not just reflect the post-communist climate, where it would be a normal part of the process in each national cinema industry after the break-up of Yugoslavia. The unique death of the patriarchal in the new Serbian cinema, represents also a break with the Milošević regime in Serbia and a broader liberation from authoritarian government and any kind of dictatorship. In the new Serbian cinema industry this “feeling of death” is born of the frustrations with the past which had accumulated during the 15-year-long regime of President Slobodan Milošević, a regime that brought isolation, a purposefully staged war, and major setbacks in people’s belief of controlling their destiny, even into the distant future. This relationship of the “objectified” Serbia and Milošević represents the subordinate-dominant relation typical of patriarchal discourse.

Alice, You Are the Other – in Relation to Us

During the 1990s Serbia was recognized and not only within its borders as an “object.” On the global map of the world, under different governmental structures and economic systems, Serbia became, and then stayed positioned as a problematic “Other:” the “other” of Europe, the “other” of the US, even sometimes the “other” of the Balkans themselves.

Some internal factors contributed to the isolation and destabilization of the country during the 1990s—corruption, hyperinflation, autocracy (the terror of one man under the disguise of a multi-party system) and finally, the transition. Apart from those, there were external factors among which one is particularly important: the creation of a media image of the “Unwanted Serbia” in the world (by the biggest world media, in justification of their sometimes openly biased politics). An important role in this process was played by film as an international medium. The Balkan identity in Hollywood films (firstly Serbian, then within the wider Slav identity) is turned into a stereotypical hostile and crude male terrorist, a contract killer or evil agent in a political thriller. These stereotypes were generated as part of a larger process—the building and/or representation of an identity through the process of making someone “The Other” (typical for Hollywood film narrative).

Woman as “other,” Serbia as “other”

In contrast to the above mentioned process of positioning the “Otherness” of the Balkans (and/or Serbia) within Hollywood cinema as an “Unwanted Other,” the national identity of Serbia in domestic cinema of the 1990s has been represented by woman’s passive role within the patriarchal structure of the family. The frequently used narrative of  a Balkan wedding[2] in domestic films during the 1990s introduced the bride who takes a completely passive and humiliating role in her own wedding (which is everything but her own) within the hierarchy of power where someone else has total authority over her life and destiny, and she must consciously yield to such conditions. This narrative came to represent all relationships where the powerful determine the destinies of the less powerful, including, as we are beginning to understand, the passive and humiliating position of Serbia within the European hierarchy. Representations of national identity in the female characters of the 1990s like the above mentioned brides (victims of their own weddings) were created within a still unchanged, “natural,” patriarchal system.

Generally in cinema, motherhood and sexuality are two strictly divided aspects of female representation within the patriarchal discourse. Serbian film most often drew a clear line between two stereotypes: the mother and the whore. A woman-mother, put in the context of war generated an archetypal media image of a mother—a woman shrouded in black who all her life had been old (like some sort of mental exercise, this image has been training young girls from an early age to be aware of their destiny). A woman-wife is always passive in the family structure while her other representations operate in domains ranging from “voluntary whores” to those that are made such by rape, and are thus on the lowest level within the hierarchy of power. Mental and physical barbarism reflected in these relationships is always the same even though it appears in two variations; crime and violence on one hand, and “banality” on the other—reflecting the difference suggested by Guy Debord between “integrated spectacular” (typical for the Western democracies) and archaic surviving of tyrannical forms which, a while ago, was typical for the communist countries. [3]

Since 2000, by force of change from ethnic to territorial cultural policy, new female representations, set in feminocentric discourse, have opened an “uncontaminated” field in which the complex structure of identity can be researched, and have begun a negotiation of new meanings. The death of the patriarchal in the new Serbian cinema means the beginning of the real process of breaking with the past, which demands an uncompromising reassessment. It was necessary to liberate oneself from the “ideology of consensus” (whether it was left or right) and the moralizing, euphoric discourse typical of the war cinema of the 1990s. Instead of films which persistently tried to give answers to current political intrigues, there was a need to replace them with “an analytical uncompromising stand” which takes the negative into account. And that stand, incidentally, is now marked by – woman. It is of the utmost importance that, apart from the media appropriations and power relations, we should not forget to arm ourselves again and again with the “discourse” of life. Since the dichotomy between the left and right wing is now irrelevant, a political culture in which no one takes the blame becomes inadmissible. These feminocentric narratives appear as a totally negative diagnosis in the form of a provocation which in the first place refers to the collapse of ex-communist European countries, but also to the anxious narcissism of the west and our whole civilization. The new “counter” film as an antidote against the “deep crisis of the patriarchal” of both systems, east and west, uses a procedure by which it grafts on something implicit, something we accept as beneficial – that comes from the other gender (one should also read—from other culture, other mentality).

breathDealing with gender issues and a new kind of feminocentric narrative concerns first of all the melodrama (as the female genre par excellence) as well as the thriller (as a male genre par excellence). Grotesque, comical or totally twisted melodramas and melodramatic comedies, through their heroines – who are active subjects, moving forces and bearers of action, from whom sexuality exudes as a basic moving force—in a way represent the opposite of the classic, patriarchal film narrative. Films such as Dorcol-Manhattan (2000), Take a Deep Breath (Diši duboko, 2004), Tomorrow Morning (Sutra ujutru, 2006) invite estrangement and Tears for Sale (Čarlston za Ognjenku, 2008) could be the real manifesto of the new Serbian “counter” cinema. Hybrid thrillers such as South by South-East (Jug-Jugoistok, 2005) or, for example, The Fourth Man (Četvrti čovek, 2007) also settle very successfully the score with the past, aided by a (very un-usual) woman who becomes the bearer of new values and whose preservation is thus worthy of sacrificing one’s life. A few films such as The Fourth Man directed by Dejan Zečević and co-written by Boban Jeftić, partly touch upon this new sensibility. Even though it is a thriller, a real Serbian neo-noir, The Fourth Man uses its femme fatale as a kind of Mary Magdalene, because, by saving her life, everything that is human and truly moral and should continue to live after the hero, is saved, while the hero himself, through the act of self-destruction, closes the circle of the committed evil.

It is important to note that this type of narrative is used by two Montenegro-produced films from the period of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro. The first is We are Packing the Monkeys Again (Opet pakujemo majmune) directed by Marija Perović and written by Milica Piletić who, in the spirit of the Belgrade school, convey this trend to the Montenegrian cinema. The second film A View from the Eiffel Tower (Pogled sa Ajfelovog tornja) directed by Nikola Vukčević and written by Irena Kikić Stojković, has a clear agenda to announce the new statehood in the character of Marija with pathetic pronouncements such as “She is Montenegro.” The irony is—or perhaps isn’t—that a very patriarchal milieu, such as Montenegrian, would begin its statehood and cinema production with three films ( the Holly Trinity)—In the Name of the Father and the Son (U ime oca i sina), We are Packing the Monkeys Again and A View from the Eiffel Tower.

Dorcol-Manhattan

One could ask the following question: What is the answer to an absurd, barbaric act such as the bombing of a city? The choices are few and time is plentiful. The answer is—sex.  To the absurdity of barbarism, the response is the female orgasm.

Dorcol-Manhattan, named after two city centers that of Belgrade and of New York, is a modest, avant-garde film—play, in the genre of “teenage comedy.” It is about, as the credits indicate, one special “Serbian-American friendship.” The film is an answer to the bombing of Belgrade by the U.S., but from a completely different, dominantly female viewpoint. Two couples, living at the two above-mentioned locations, defend themselves from their own subordination by practicing never-ending sex. 

The slogan “Only Sex Saves the Serbs” instead of the notorious national catchphrase “Only Unity Saves the Serbs” is ridiculing the idea of Serbian unity as an empty word. Camp in its approach, the film pokes fun at the society of lies and simulations by excessive visualization of porno paraphernalia, and ridicules the “longing” for national allegiance and patriotism from a “safe” position abroad, with its excessive emphasis on personal freedoms and phony friendships—all typical of the diaspora mentality.

Ambitious heroines in a delicate and frustrating situation, who would simply kill for an orgasm, incessantly try out all kinds of positions, even a lesbian relationship, while they are looking for a way out of the “we don’t know what to do” situation. Through their lives a kitsch compilation of motifs is paraded, such as Andy Warhol, Coca-Cola, an American flag, a typical rug from Pirot, Serbia or the famous folk story of the Kosovo maiden in which cannabis becomes a part of Serbian history witnessed by (as always when history is in question) Serbian epic poetry which “decidedly claims” that the Kosovo maiden was “constantly high.” Another frequent practice—the falsifying of Serbian history with the aid of epic poetry, is here given endless ironic treatment.

Coming to different conclusions about the same event (the outcome of the war)—the couples exchange places. The Belgrade couple leaves for New York certain that we have “lost the war,” while the New York couple comes back to Belgrade happy that we “won the war.” Neither pair finds a solution and the moment it finds itself on the other side, it panics—because there is no real way out. A complete travesty of the emigrant’s identity in this movie ridicules both the local hypocrisy and the process of turning the Balkans into the “Other” within the Hollywood narrative as noted above. 

Take a Deep Breath

Take a Deep Breath (Diši duboko) by the director Dragan Marinković and screenwriter Hajdana Baletić for the first time brought to the Serbian big screen a lesbian relationship as an aspect of the female to female bonding whose subversive power within a patriarchy means a total liberation from all possible constraints. To a large extent, this film has been suppressed from the Belgrade public scene even though it is far from a “backward community’s manual for gay relationships”—as some have interpreted it. If Take a Deep Breath were a pamphlet generated with the aim of gay propaganda—it would definitely not be, like other films with such tendencies, so essentially provocative and delicate. Besides, it would definitely not be “different.”

breathSaša, the film’s heroine, plans to immigrate to Canada with her boyfriend and is determined to “escape from everything.” But this turns out to be just a path to a traffic accident which radically changes the course of events. Lana, her boyfriend’s sister, arrives in Belgrade from Paris. A strong bond forms between Lana and Saša, which turns into a love affair. This “relationship” becomes some kind of reverse side of Narcissus’ mirror, because it reflects the stumbling of the heroines, the parents, and the whole society over their own false values. Female bonding, and its subversive aspect within the patriarchy, completely materializes only when the relationship between Saša and her mother changes, causing their total sexual liberation. (The supportive mother who is finally sexually liberated thanks to her daughter is notably played by Mira Furlan, a major film star in socialist Yugoslavia. This film marks her comeback to the Belgrade cinema scene.)

Escapism, as it usually happens, is not the solution. The two heroines, Saša and Lana, do a bungee jump with their bodies joined, which symbolizes the subversive power of the female bonding’s homosexual aspect. Breaking the cinematic taboo of the patriarchal discourse suggest that the will to live when we start to breathe again presents something which few of us really want. Serbia and Europe still have no courage for a jump like that.

South by South-East

South by South-East, directed and written by Milutin Petrović and co-written by Saša Radojević, is a meta-film (about the relationship between film and reality), and that is why this thriller is shot as a documentary, subverting the “naturalness” of that genre. Such a method causes estrangement and constantly forces the viewer into reassessment: reality in Serbia is a thriller for which we are never paranoid enough.

The film is dedicated to one of the best Serbian actresses, Sonja Savić. In a complex and meta-cinematic way she represents the narrative itself and plays herself. As a victim of a showdown between the old and the new regime, she is simultaneously in real life and in the film. She comes to Belgrade from Slovenia after a long exile trying to save her abducted child. The child’s father is the current Serbian minister of foreign affairs. It is as if Sonja dances a tango while she is playing a game of seduction with the authorities, secret services, terrorists, and police. The biggest figure from the shadow of the former regime, who is behind the abduction, is played by the filmmaker Puriša Djordjević. He says that “Sonja is not a simple pop tune. Sonja is a tango,” referring, at the same time, to one of his films in which Sonja starred.[4]

Nobody is sure any more if the child exists at all. Belgrade through Sonja’s eyes changes its meaning, and we see every event through its reverse side, as an event behind the scenes. Belgrade is a “set” on which a film about our fake reality is being made. True reality is found only in films, and only with their help we can shed some light on things. That degree of subversion of our political reality is possible only through Sonja’s body and the multi-layered meanings it carries (moving through the abstract space of Belgrade) as well as through her referential position as an icon within the Serbian cinema.

Sonja is contrasting the two heroines whose sexuality is a recognizable sort of “prostitution by agreement” from our cinema history and who represent the old distribution of power within the patriarchal discourse. Sonja’s combination of motherhood and sexuality represent a real subversion of meaning. She is so dominant that she does not only expose all heroines around her to irony, but heroes as well, and she has no one to “share her film with.” The body of the detective’s daughter (who signed an implicit pact of prostitution with the one who has the power) becomes a map on which her professor “the foreigner” literally draws geographic positions. Bosnian mountains on the breasts, south by south east on her stomach, while a hand slides towards her crotch – Big Mother Russia. On the other side, implicit prostitution and stultification of Christine “who is emancipated” is made so banal that it casts her out to the margins of the plot throughout the movie.

A detective who is investigating the case seeks help from his friend, the psychiatrist. Even though the film is called South by South-East the psychiatrist reckons that North by Northwest is not “his friend’s film” and looking for an adequate film as his answer to his friend’s dilemma, chooses a domestic title Strangler vs. Strangler (Davitelj protiv davitelja) in which, of course, Sonja acts. This film makes us ponder Serbian cinema and look for our identity on the right spot. The whole idea of Petrović’s “counter” film South by South-East could be summarized with the phrases the psychiatrist uses to explain to his detective friend an absurd situation of the existing Serbian cinema in a non-existent state:

In this country reality does not exist. There are just films. Unfortunately, nobody is watching them.”And through Sonja’s character: She is not crazy. They are just trying to put our whole cinema industry in an asylum.

Tomorrow Morning

tomorrowTomorrow Morning (Sutra ujutru, 2006) by the director Oleg Novković and screenwriter Milena Marković, nominated for an Oscar in 2007 in the best foreign film category, was shot in the manner of Dogma95. Done in brief shots like a documentary, it is more than distressingly subversive of everything we ever thought we knew about ourselves and others. This film makes a travesty of the Serbian emigrant community in a new and harrowing way. A young man comes from Canada for a few days and organizes his wedding. His “illusions,” fabricated only as a reason to come back “to his country,” will be dispelled. His country is the great love that he left behind, a girl called Sale (who bears in the Serbian language a male nickname and is a part of the male society, played by Nada Sargin), who indulges in self-irony to the very limit and who decides not to exist. For her, there are no compromises. Sale is a body full of wounds, abortion being the worst. All the traces are erased with the baby, so that all memories and the “purified life” of the suppressed catharsis can continue.

morningFrom the moment the young man comes back, Sale is constantly balancing on a thin edge where her sexuality, and she herself, at the same time are at the center of the narrative (completely determining the course of events), and completely exteriorized from the narrative (she cannot do anything to change the course of events). The restrained but intense acting, where all relevant moments are taking place in pauses, in active silence, in jerks of a body which tries to “speak”—discloses silence as a resistance and not-doing as an ancient subversion of meaning. Sale does not depart, does not arrive anywhere. She simply is. And he exists only during those four days while he was a part of her. Upon his return to Canada, everybody goes back to their own non-existence. The nostalgic sound of old Yugoslav rock, four days of escape into true existence, can last in some time warp, “just this night”—until Tomorrow Morning.

And lastly...Tears for Sale

The manifesto of the new “counter” cinema is apparently writing itself and brings us to Tears for Sale (Čarlston za Ognjenku,2008). This is a film whose premiere was eagerly awaited (for five years) and which should represent a big turning point in Serbian cinema. (The premiere of the film was a few days after the deadline for the Serbian publication of this article.) This is how the story goes in the land of miracles, based on the screenplay and exciting trailer:

Once upon the time, two sisters lived in a village without a single man... And then they took the matter in their own hands and set off to hunt down a real man. But also... to hunt for real love, and for a song. (Tears for Sale)

The outlaw sisters would solve some “female issues” which men are simply not up to. The Great Goddess, the two sisters’ grandmother and the spiritus movens of their actions, is played by another big star of Serbian stage and screen, Olivera Katarina. A femme fatale of her time, she had also been a prisoner of the cultural asylum called Serbia. In short, the Little Goddess’ sharp words are addressed to the hardened patriarchate:

Don’t you move from that car! Do you hear me, Arsenije? You are a sissy, Pokrp is a snake pit, and this is female business!

As far as the director’s method is concerned, the only thing left for us to do is to impatiently count the days before the premiere of the long-awaited project in which we hope that, finally, in Serbia, beside the Tango, we will have a round of Charleston. 

tearsA female body, like a new statehood, merges identity and difference, but does not make them mutually exclusive. By emphasizing the female orgasm as the pinnacle of female sexuality, but in combination with motherhood, a new identity is realized, a new female subject in the process of creation. Hers is an identity that has to stay present as a speaking creature (a part of history) in a symbolic sense. Simultaneously, she should do it without stopping being a bearer of the reverse side of that language, the para-language, its subversive components. “Conditioning” (phallocentric phantasms) and “false promises” (male impotence) become insufficient solutions for heroines of the new Serbian cinema—in a word, for all of us.

Great Goddesses and Mothers of Serbian cinema industry like Sonja Savić (as the mother in South by South-East), Mira Furlan (Saša’s mother in Take a Deep Breath) and Olivera Katarina (as a grandmother in Tear for Sale) represent the perfect, delicate synthesis of motherhood and sexuality within and outside narrative cinema. Their appearance means two things at the same time. It is the foundation of new female representation within the narratives. Outside cinema, they are a reflection of the nostalgia for the best in the history of Serbian cinema.

The motto of this new “counter” film is instinctive subversion of representations of national identity within the domestic cinema up to the end of the 1990 as well as a subversive answer to representations of the Balkan identity as an inferior one, or “Other” in the Hollywood cinema (and in the films of a large number of European directors filming for the American market) through a self-ironic or camp heroine. That kind of narrative moves, decodes, damages and creates anew obvious but false meanings, putting the viewer into completely new and unexplored viewpoints, making him/her negotiate new meanings. The identity of new statehood became a “female matter.” Peculiar feminocentric narratives of the “counter” cinema have put female pleasure in the center, insisting on sexuality through the female orgasm and the merging of sexuality and motherhood in one inseparable union. They sail through the world of lies and delusion, the world of camp and the surreal in order to get “behind” the meaning, through the self-ironic female dream, to expose the rottenness of the falsely apparent order of things. From that (as from any other dream) we can awaken... if we want to, of course.

Translated by Goran Gocić with Vida Johnson


Notes

1] Ranko Munitić, Adio Jugo-Film, Belgrade 2005: Centar film (Beograd/ Srpski kulturni klub/ Prizma).

2] The narrative of the Balkan weddings represents a reference point for the Serbian wedding in Sarajevo – a “trigger” for the beginning of the war in Bosnia, just like the assassination of the Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand was remembered as the trigger for the First World War.

3] Debord, Guy. Commentaires sur la société du spectacle, Paris 1992: Gallimard.

4] Reference to the film Tango is a Sad Thought One Dances to (Tango je tužna misao koja se pleše, 1997) by Puriša Djordjević in which Sonja Savić starred.

Updated: 09 Oct 09