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Free Zone – Balkan Horizons

Free Zone – Balkan Horizons

15th jubilee edition of festival Free zone, as a part of the selection Balkan Horizons, brings us six exciting achievements chosen by selectors Jelena Maksimović and Ivan Bakrač. In the center of attention are fighting and remembrance, the legacy of the past, a need for discontinuity and lessons (messages) which the events, places, and people from the past use to define our future.

A feature documentary by Andrej Korovljev, Tusta, draws the life of Branko Črnco Tusta, lead man of a punk-rock band KUD Idijoti from Pula, closer to us. Thanks to his musical and union engagement as the leader of the union “Uljanik” from Pula, he became a symbol of freedom and common sense on the regional stage. Through archive materials and interviews with members of the band, the film tells a story of an unexpected breakthrough and meteoric rising of Pula composition in former Yugoslavia, but also of the prohibitions they experienced due to the war and nationalism in Croatia. With unshakeable ideals and uncompromising stances, Tusta and KUD Idijoti was the first Croatian band to have a performance in Serbia after the disintegration of SFRJ, at the legendary concert in Belgrade Sports Hall in 2000.

A feature documentary by Andrej Korovljev, Tusta, draws the life of Branko Črnco Tusta, lead man of a punk-rock band KUD Idijoti from Pula, closer to us. Thanks to his musical and union engagement as the leader of the union “Uljanik” from Pula, he became a symbol of freedom and common sense on the regional stage. Through archive materials and interviews with members of the band, the film tells a story of an unexpected breakthrough and meteoric rising of Pula composition in former Yugoslavia, but also of the prohibitions they experienced due to the war and nationalism in Croatia. With unshakeable ideals and uncompromising stances, Tusta and KUD Idijoti was the first Croatian band to have a performance in Serbia after the disintegration of SFRJ, at the legendary concert in Belgrade Sports Hall in 2000.

Another film that represents women and their struggle is directed by the Croatian director Dana Budisavljević. Diary of Diana B. represents a black-white fusion of the feature, documentary and archive material, dramatization of actual events, film inscriptions, composed experimental and classical music. Documents and fiction intertwine with one another, painting a powerful portrait of a strong woman who decides that the lives of innocent children are more important than the idea of nationalism, political affiliation, and even her own life. Pledging her own life in the name of innocent people, a lady from the high middle class decides to rescue 10000 children from Ustashi camps during the Second World War.

The documentary film by Serbian author Jelena Radenović Milestons reminds us of the legacy of the past. It is a film about monumental monuments erected in the period of socialism on the territory of former Yugoslavia. The main intent of the film was to show that true art would endure, find its way to the audience and outlive the ideological changes and political arrangements. These monuments are both the symbol of suffering and man’s fight for freedom, for a better and brighter future. About the manner of the emergence of some of the most important monuments, there is a testimony of a sculptor and professor Miodrag Živković, creator of the monument on Kadinjača, Tjentište, in Kragujevac. They are abstract constructions, deprived of ideological symbols (sickle, hammer) and cults of personality which are prevalent in monumental sculptures of other socialistic countries. Their shapes and designs are modern, even futuristic, visionary, while their technical performance is impressive. Their goal was to set aesthetical and ethical standards in newly made, post-war society. The inspirational motto of that time illustrates this intention: we build monuments, monuments build us.

An extraordinary minimalistic film Monsters. by Romanian director Marius Olteanu turns to an inner, personal struggle and re-examines the relationship between the main protagonists through their meetings with complete strangers. Skillfully built tension enables a journey through the loneliness of a human being in the post-transit country. Dana and Arthur are a married couple in the late forties and they’ve been together for almost ten years. As a couple, they enjoy the love and affection of their friends and family, and individually, the scorn. Their personal needs, convictions, life expectations, but also their inner demons, will make them confront themselves and inquire, as well as decide, is parting ways really the greatest proof of love?

In the documentary omnibus Palace for the People by Bulgarian directors Georgi Bogdanov and Boris Missirkov, the main protagonists are the buildings in Moscow, Sofia, Bucharest, Berlin and Belgrade that represent architectural masterpieces from the period of socialism and provide evidence about historical turnabouts in Eastern Europe in the second half of 20th century. Archive materials, interviews, modern recordings, narrative voices, and quotations build a structurally complex homage to these extraordinarily important buildings. They commemorate different political values and open the questions for different interpretations in the present. The National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Moscow State University, the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, the Palace of Federation in Belgrade and the Palace of the Republic in Berlin are unique architectural creations, whose construction required a lot of courage and a little bit of lunacy and whose goal was to remind the people of both an ultimate power and a brighter future. Each one of them has a unique characteristic of its own: whether it is the tallest, the biggest, has the largest clock on Earth or the most advanced technology of its time. These buildings were the most grandiose ventures at a time when collective good was the policy of the central government. Now that socialism has perished, authors look back at them and reveal their secrets.

Films from the selection Horizons of Balkan invite us to recollections and confrontations. To old turmoil and to those we hope won’t come. They remind us of the scars of generations that fought for their ideals and ask us, what is our fight?

Welcome to the Free Zone!