Yugoslav Experimental Film Symposium

Saturday, February 10, 2018
9:50am - 5:00pm
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th St)

Please join the Njegoš Endowment for Serbian Language and Culture and the Harriman Institute for a symposium on Yugoslav experimental film.

The symposium focuses on the marginalized area of the experimental moving image, addressing alternative forms of film, video, and paracinema in the former Yugoslavia that both flourished and were erased from the official historical record. The history of experimental film in Yugoslavia is rich, layered and fragmented. It originated in the tradition of the so-called amateur film, practiced within cinema clubs across the former federation in the late 1950s and 1960s by active non-professional filmmakers focused almost exclusively on making narrative “alternative” films. It concluded with experimental films from the 1980s made in the framework of the “meta-media” paradigm and conceived as remediations. A key protagonist of this segmented history of experimental film in Yugoslavia is the Genre Experimental Film Festival (GEFF) established in Zagreb in 1963—the same year that the Ann Arbor Film festival was established in the United States—which introduced the influential concept of “anti-film” associated with the concrete and structural cinema. Other important fragments in the history of Yugoslav experimental film include the generation of young filmmakers and artists who grew out of the American “underground” cinema during the slow decline of Yugoslav ciné-clubs in the early 1970s and gathered around the Student Cultural Center in Belgrade, as well as the experiments in the framework of the “conceptual” paradigm that used the so-called new media—photography/slides, video, film, performance—and heritage of historic avant-gardes to fight the fossilized dogmas of modernism and to generate cultural critiques, created by artists in Zagreb and Belgrade in the mid and late 1970s.

The symposium brings together experts in the field involved with the idea of re-curating fragmented histories of Yugoslav experimental film and cinema by other means. The participants will approach numerous alternative forms of Yugoslav experimental film, their authors and filmmakers, along with the avant-garde cinema practices as sites of unearthed cultural capital for a media archeology of the future. Experimental films by Vukica Djilas and Davorin Marc will be screened as representative samples of media archeology findings.

Images, from left to right:

[1] Frame from Davorin Marc, La popolazione (1982/2015)

[2] Frame from Vukica Djilas, Home movies (prepared by Sobodan Šijan, 2015)

[3] Frame from Dušan Makavejev, Love Affair (1967)

This conference is organized by Aleksandar Bošković.



PANEL I: Dušan Makavejev & Miroslav Vrabec

10:00am - 11:30 am

Alice Lovejoy (University of Minnesota)
"The World of the Modern Child”: Experiments in Yugoslav Youth Film

Herbert Eagle (University of Michigan)
Documentary/Fiction/Collision in Makavejev’s  Films

Chair: Ksenya Gurshtein (Skirball Cultural Center)

Discussant: Dragana Obradović (University of Toronto)

PANEL II: Tomislav Gotovac & Slobodan Šijan

11:30am - 1:00 pm

Ana Janevski (MoMA)
Tomislav Gotovac/Anna Halprin: Improbable Encounters

Aleksandar Bošković (Columbia)
Alone in the Cinemascope: Slobodan Šijan’s Film Leaflet

Chair: Dijana Jelača (Fordham University)

Discussant: Ksenya Gurshtein (Skirball Cultural Center)


1:00pm - 2:30 pm

PANEL III: Vukica Djilas & Davorin Marc

2:30pm - 5:00pm

Films by Vukica Djilas

Pavle Levi (Stanford University)
Diaries, Notes, and Structures

Jurij Meden (George Eastman Museum)
Davorin Marc: Variations on La popolazione, or the Invention of Never-Made

Films by Davorin Marc

Chair: Dragana Obradović (University of Toronto)

Discussant: Dijana Jelača (Fordham University)