Surfing the Black: Yugoslav Black Wave Cinema and Its Transgressive Moments
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The Yugoslav black wave cinema of the sixties and the seventies is one of the grand, though hidden, chapters of cinema history. Talented young authors, working under the sign of individual expression and aesthetic experimentation, pushed and explored the limits of the constraints of a socialist state. Their efforts lead to a new path of visual expression, so outstanding by its social and political engagement, its formal invention and its courage.
This book is the result of a multi-disciplinary research attempting to cross over politics, philosophy, design, art, architecture, and some speculative thinking. Starting from archival work, interviews, seminars, screenings and a conference, Surfing the Black has found its (temporary) conclusion in a publication consisting of six theoretical essays and three fanzines that open up the black wave film experience to current affairs. This is Yugoslavia, and modern cinema, at its blackest and brightest.
With six theoretical essays (by Boris Buden, Pavle Levi and Owen Hatherly, among others) and fanzines comprising an interview with one of the most important Yugoslav filmmakers, Želimir Žilnik, and a comprehensive glossary of terms that belong to the period and field of Yugoslav culture and politics, this is the first book on the subject in the English-speaking world.
irrationality; a force which ﬁlms are only occasionally capable of attaining, but when they do, nothing can surpass this grandiosity, this power. Of course, it was only later that I realized: what allured me toward Eisenstein and his ﬁlm was not strictly montage.19 For Pavlović, then, the most signiﬁcant feature of Eisenstein’s technique is that it supplements the ﬁlm image with outbursts of irrationality, of the “unaccountable.” Attractions do not simply assist or guide one’s perception of the
as Toscano writes, on the antagonistic principles of materialism. In reading the ﬁlms by Makavejev, Vogel is most explicit in describing their “complexity”. According to Vogel Makavejev’s “viewpoint is cosmic: fragmented, kaleidoscopic and multilayered”.3 This “cosmos” is completely different from the classical cosmos of the 20th-century man. It is based on the most novel conceptions of scientiﬁc knowledge which “[as his ﬁlms] express[es] time-space continuums, the absence of linear realities,
ideological readings of Makavejev’s ﬁlms in order to make clear their theoretical and political consequences. The consequences are the un-dialectical approach of sameness, ending most of the time in the historicist interpretation of the development (which consequently opens variety of regressive and retroactive political positions). This process is grounded in the knowledge that is 150 strictly based on self-referential and absolute truths, in the text referred to as ‘concrete’ or precisely as
wars in the Balkans. Yugonostalgia adheres to the idea of the “good old times”, a positive image of socialist Yugoslavia in the world and of the idealized great leader Tito. Instead of demonization of the past we encounter the naïve idealization that invents the past that did not really exist. This type of memory is much more polyvalent and critical than anti-totalitarian memory, it is not an ofﬁcial state ideology. Yugonostalgic motivations and forms are multiple, but they do not always
This then sharply cuts to an (actual) lecture by an ageing, diminutive sexologist, giving what will become the New Left orthodoxy of the naturalness of sexuality, to be demolished by Foucault a few years later with much glee. With a tone that suggests the discussion of the ﬁner points of flora and fauna as much as it does human sexuality, we are told of the freedom from repression of other cultures, who even have a place for sex in their religions, of how sexuality has always been a subject for