Partisan film

Partisan film (Serbo-Croatian: Partizanski film) is the name for a subgenre of war films, made in FPR/SFR Yugoslavia during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. In the broadest sense, main characteristics of partisan films are that they are set in Yugoslavia during World War II and have Yugoslav Partisans as main protagonists, while antagonists are Axis forces and their collaborators.

Valter Brani Sarajevo
Walter Defends Sarajevo, a 1972 partisan film, has a cult status in the countries of former Yugoslavia,[1][2] and was seen by 300 million Chinese viewers in the year of its release alone.[1]

Definition and scope

There are disagreements, even among the film critics, about the exact definition of the genre.[3] Partisan films are often equated solely with the populist, entertainment-oriented branch of the genre, characterized by epic scope, ensemble casts, expensive production, and emotionally intense scenes, all introduced into Yugoslav war films by Veljko Bulajić's Kozara (1962).[4][5] The other branch – much less interesting to the Communist establishment – was represented by modernist films, ranging from the poetic naturalism of the Yugoslav Black Wave to experimental stream-of-consciousness films.[5]

By the 1980s, economic hardship in the country, as well as change in the ideological landscape, particularly with the younger Yugoslav generation, caused a waning of interest in the genre, and the critical and commercial failure of Bulajić's Great Transport (1983) is usually seen as a symbolic end of the partisan film era.[6]

In his analysis of Fadil Hadžić's The Raid on Drvar (1963), Croatian film critic Jurica Pavičić identifies seven key characteristics of what he calls "super-Partisan films":[7]

  • Focus on crucial, well-known, "textbook" examples of Partisan struggle, such as major battles and operations, which are then given an officially sanctioned interpretation.
  • Absence of authentic, high-profile figures of Partisan struggle, with the exception of Josip Broz Tito. In Pavičić's view, the rationale for this was to avoid threatening Tito's cult of personality.
  • Mosaic structure in which sometimes dozens of characters take part, and their fate is followed throughout the film. These characters represent different classes or walks of life (intellectuals, peasants), or different ethnicities.
  • Mixing of the comic with the tragic.
  • The presence of foreign (non-Yugoslav) characters as arbiters. Their role is to witness and verify the martyrdom and heroism of Yugoslav peoples as Partisan films depict them, sending a symbolical message ("There it is, the world acknowledges us as we are").
  • The characteristic treatment of the Germans: although they are portrayed as villains, and are demonized in various ways, they are also shown to be superior in power and discipline, and are depicted as an efficient, sophisticated, even glamorous adversary.
  • Deus ex machina endings, in which the Partisans break out of seemingly hopeless situations.

Pavičić's analysis was criticized for not being universally applicable to Partisan films, and a number of notable exceptions to the above formula were provided.[8]

Notable films

Notable television series

  • Otpisani
  • Kapelski kresovi
  • Mačak pod šljemom


  1. ^ a b Cabric, Nemanja (10 August 2012). "Documentary Tells Story of the 'Walter Myth'". Retrieved 2012-10-18.
  2. ^ Premec, Tina (8 February 2011). "Kultni film 'Valter brani Sarajevo' dobiva remake u seriji od 30 nastavaka". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 2012-10-18.
  3. ^ Pavičić, Jurica (11 November 2009). "Vrdoljak je radio najbolje partizanske filmove". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 2010-05-23.
  4. ^ "Kozara". Baza HR kinematografije (in Croatian). Croatian Film Association. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  5. ^ a b Šakić, Tomislav (2010). "Opsada, Branko Marjanović, 1956". (in Croatian). Subversive Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  6. ^ Pavičić 2016, pp. 61–62.
  7. ^ Pavičić 2003, pp. 13–14
  8. ^ Jovanović 2011, pp. 51–54


Further reading

Acid Western

Acid Western is a subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s that combines the metaphorical ambitions of critically acclaimed Westerns, such as Shane and The Searchers, with the excesses of the Spaghetti Westerns and the outlook of the counterculture of the 1960s. Acid Westerns subvert many of the conventions of earlier Westerns to "conjure up a crazed version of autodestructive white America at its most solipsistic, hankering after its own lost origins".

Battle of Neretva (film)

Battle of Neretva (Serbo-Croatian: Bitka na Neretvi / Битка на Неретви, Slovene: Bitka na Neretvi,) is a 1969 Yugoslavian partisan film. The film was written by Stevan Bulajić and Veljko Bulajić, and directed by Veljko Bulajić. It is based on the true events of World War II. The Battle of the Neretva was due to a strategic plan for a combined Axis powers attack in 1943 against the Yugoslav Partisans. The plan was also known as the Fourth Enemy Offensive and occurred in the area of the Neretva river in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Battle of Neretva is the most expensive motion picture made in the SFR Yugoslavia. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the year after Sergei Bondarchuk (playing the role of Martin in Neretva) won the honour for War and Peace. The score for the English-speaking versions was composed by Bernard Herrmann. Its soundtrack was released by Entr'acte Recording Society in 1974. It was re-released on Southern Cross Records on CD.

One of the original posters for the English version of the movie was made by Pablo Picasso, which, according to Bulajić, the famous painter agreed to do without payment, only requesting a case of the best Yugoslav wines.

Battle of Sutjeska (film)

Battle of Sutjeska (also known as The Fifth Offensive) is a 1973 partisan film directed by Stipe Delić and made in SFR Yugoslavia. It tells the story of the famous Battle of Sutjeska, the greatest engagement of the Yugoslav Partisan War. The film is one of the most expensive ever made in Yugoslavia. It was selected as the Yugoslav entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 46th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee. It was also entered into the 8th Moscow International Film Festival where it won a Special Prize.

Cinema of Yugoslavia

Cinema of Yugoslavia was the cinema of Yugoslavia.

Das ist Walter

Das ist Walter (English: That's Walter) is the debut studio album by Yugoslav band Zabranjeno Pušenje released on April 10, 1984. It was released through Jugoton in Yugoslavia.

The album title is the closing line from the 1972 partisan film Walter Defends Sarajevo and it refers to the city of Sarajevo. The first track is the theme from the film. The album recording began in November 1983 in Studio 17 that was located in record producer Mahmud Paša Ferović's house.

Released by Jugoton, the record was out in limited circulation of 3,000 copies, indicative of the label's modest expectations, however, it started selling surprisingly well, eventually crossing the mark of 100,000 copies sold. It also received plenty of accolades, including making the list of top 100 albums in the history of pop and rock music in Yugoslavia published in the 1998 book YU 100: The Greatest Yugoslav Rock and Pop Music Albums. Das ist Walter is listed in the 87th place.The album was re-released in 2000 by Nimfa Sound.

Euro War

Euro War, also known as Macaroni Combat, Macaroni War, Spaghetti Combat, or Spaghetti War, is a broad subgenre of war film that emerged in the mid-1960s, so named because most were produced and directed by European co-productions, and most notably by Italians.The typical team was made up of an Italian director, Italo-Spanish technical staff, and a cast of Italian and Spanish actors and sometimes German and French, sometimes a minor or fading Hollywood star. The films were primarily shot in Europe and later, the Philippines.

Guns of War

Guns of War (Serbo-Croatian: Užička republika/Ужичка република, meaning "Republic of Užice") is a 1974 Yugoslav film directed by Žika Mitrović. It is one of the most notable examples of partisan film, a Yugoslav subgenre of World War II films which was popular between the 1960s and 1980s. The prevailing themes of anti-fascist struggle set in wartime Yugoslavia are also present here, as the film tells the story of the rise and fall of the Republic of Užice, a short-lived territory liberated by Yugoslav partisans which existed for several months in 1941.

The film shows several love stories unfolding on the backdrop of historical events and includes appearances by Miodrag Lazarević as Chetnik leader Draža Mihailović and Marko Todorović as Josip Broz Tito.The film won two Golden Arena awards at the 1974 Pula Film Festival, the Yugoslav national film awards, including Best Film and Best Supporting Actress (Ružica Sokić). It was also entered into the 9th Moscow International Film Festival where it won a Diploma.

Hajrudin Krvavac

Hajrudin "Šiba" Krvavac (22 December 1926 – 11 July 1992) was a Bosnian film director most notable for directing movies from the Partisan film genre during 1960s and 70s.

His gift for precise storytelling was visible in his early documentaries and would become a staple of his feature films later on. Starting with his directorial debut, the segment Otac (Father) of the anthology film Vrtlog (Vortex, 1964), all his feature films are action films set in World War II. Their storytelling owes a lot to comic books and American action films, especially westerns, with an imaginative combination of action and emotions, personal drama and epic tragedy, idealised heroism and psychological trials, sometimes with a dose of humor. Because of the style of his films, Krvavac was sometimes compared to Howard Hawks.

Hell River

Hell River, also known as Partisans (Serbo-Croatian: Partizani / Партизани) and The Last Guerilla is a 1974 Yugoslav partisan film starring Rod Taylor as a Yugoslav raised in America who returns home to fight the Germans as a Partisan in World War II. Adam West plays a German officer.

The film was shot on location in Yugoslavia, and claims to be based on a true story. There are several versions, including an original three-hour cut made for Yugoslavian television, and a feature-length version for the American market. Rod Taylor was involved in rewriting and shooting some additional scenes during post production.

Kozara (film)

Kozara is a 1962 Yugoslav film directed by Veljko Bulajić. It is a well known film of the partisan film subgenre popular in Yugoslavia in the 1960s and 1970s and depicts events surrounding the Battle of Kozara.

It won the Big Golden Arena for Best Film at the 1962 Pula Film Festival, the Yugoslav national film awards, was entered into the 3rd Moscow International Film Festival where it won a Golden Prize, and was selected as the Yugoslav entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 32nd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.

List of apocalyptic films

This is a list of apocalyptic feature-length films. All films within this list feature either the end of the world, a prelude to such an end (such as a world taken over by a viral infection), and/or a post-apocalyptic setting.

Opera film

An opera film is a recording of an opera on film.

Partisan (film)

Partisan is a 2015 Australian film directed by Ariel Kleiman. The film stars Vincent Cassel as Gregori, a cult leader. The feature marks Kleiman's directorial debut. Kleiman wrote the film with his girlfriend Sarah Cyngler. It premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

The Sun Is Far Away

The Sun Is Far Away (Serbo-Croat: Daleko je sunce) is a 1953 Yugoslav war film directed by Rados Novakovic and starring Branko Plesa, Rade Markovic and Dragomir Felba. It is a 'Partisan film', the dominant genre in immediate post-war Yugoslav cinema. During the Second World War, aa group of Partisans battle against occupying Bulgarian and German forces.

Veljko Bulajić

Veljko Bulajić (born 22 March 1928) is a Croatian Montenegrin film director and UNESCO Kalinga Prize recipient. He has spent the majority of his life working in Croatia and is primarily known for directing the Yugoslav state-sponsored World War II-themed movies from the Partisan film genre. Bulajić was a resistance fighter in World War II having joined the Yugoslav Partisans group at the age of 13. Bulajić and his two older brothers were all wounded in battle and at one point his entire family was imprisoned in an Italian fascist concentration camp. The two surviving brothers, Veljko and Stevan, would later co-write the movies Kozara and Battle of Neretva. According to the Croatian Public Broadcasting Company, his films have reached an audience in excess of 500 million viewers worldwide. The top four most viewed Yugoslav films of all time were all directed by Bulajic.

Walter Defends Sarajevo

Walter Defends Sarajevo (Serbo-Croatian: Valter brani Sarajevo/Валтер брани Сарајево) is a 1972 Yugoslav partisan film, directed by Hajrudin Krvavac and starring Bata Živojinović.

By style
By theme
By movement
or period
By demographic groups
By format,
or production

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.