Yugoslav Black Wave

Yugoslav Black Wave (also referred to as Black Wave) is a blanket term for a Yugoslav film movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. Notable directors include Dušan Makavejev, Žika Pavlović, Saša Petrović, Želimir Žilnik, Mika Antić, Lordan Zafranović, Mića Popović and Marko Babac. Their films are known for their non-traditional approach to film making, their dark humor and their critical examination of the Yugoslav society at the time.

The wave is one of the most successful and internationally recognised cinematic movements of Southeast Europe, besides Romanian New Wave of 2000s. Films from the wave won a plethora of international recognition, including a Golden Bear, Silver Bear for Best Director, Cannes Grand Prix, six nominations for Cannes Palme d'Or and four nominations for Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, with success continuing through directors emerging from the wave, including two Palme d'Or awards in 1980s and 1990s. Today, several of the films are considered classics of world cinema and were released as part of influential collections such as Criterion Collection in the United States.

In the early 1960s Yugoslavia produced more films than ever before. Exports soared during this period of intense creativity and experimentation. The film makers were linked by a common wish to increase the freedom of artistic expression, and to reform the cinematic language. The filmmakers wanted the right to show the darker side of the human psyche and to openly criticize the policy of the socialist state. This stream gained international attention as well as provoking strong controversies within Yugoslavia. The liberalization of the film form and expression reached its apex in 1967– 1968.

In the following years, the counter-offence against the new movement intensified. Black films were attacked for their pessimistic view on the Yugoslav socialist development and liberalism in general, as well as their valorization of anarchistic and individualistic tendencies in the society. The attacks on the movement was can be seen as a natural result of the broader political developments at the time. Eventually it led to the banning of selected films and some directors were forced to leave the country.[1]

Yugoslav Black Wave
Black Wave
Years active1963–1972
Major figuresDušan Makavejev, Žika Pavlović, Saša Petrović, Želimir Žilnik, Mika Antić, Lordan Zafranović, Mića Popović, Marko Babac

Notable individuals and movies

Aleksandar "Saša" Petrović was one of the major figures of the Yugoslav Black Wave. He made the movement well known in Yugoslavia and abroad. Two of his works were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: Three in 1966[2] and I Even Met Happy Gypsies (Feather Gatherers) in 1967.[3]

Želimir Žilnik's Early Works (1969) showed the main tendencies of the Yugoslav Black Wave: nonordinary forms, polemical methods, socio-critical concerns, oppositional ideology and a fatalistic final.[4] At the same time, it prompted the writer and journalist Vladimir Jovičić (who insisted on the position of the traditional communist party line) to write an article "The Black Wave in Our Cinema" (Crni talas u našem filmu), published in Borba on August 3, 1969, which coined the very term “Black Wave”. The official counterattack against the Yugoslav Black Wave began with this film and this article.[5][6]

Dušan Makavejev is considered the leader of the Black Wave filmmakers.[7] His most successful film was the 1971 political satire WR: Mysteries of the Organism, which he directed and wrote. The film was banned, and Makavejev fled the country, not working there again until 1988. He made Sweet Movie in Canada, the Netherlands, and France. It is banned in various countries to this day.

Although the best directors and movies of the black wave were Serbian, The Croatian Cinema was also a party to this process. The most important black wave classic from Croatia is Handcuffs (Lisice, 1969, by Krsto Papić),[6] first art product showing secrets of the breakup between Josip Broz Tito and Joseph Stalin in 1948.


  1. ^ Goulding 2002, p. 83.
  2. ^ "The 39th Academy Awards (1967) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  3. ^ "The 40th Academy Awards (1968) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  4. ^ DeCuir, G (2008). Old School Capitalism: An Interview with Zelimir Zilnik. Cineaste Publishers Archived February 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Goulding 2002, pp. 79–81.
  6. ^ a b Pavičić, Jurica (March 4, 2017). "Optužnica protiv kulture krivo je napisana. Ponovno živimo 1972. godinu". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  7. ^ Sterritt, D (2007). Sweet Movie: Wake Up!. The Criterion Collection


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".

Adam Holender

Adam Holender (born 13 November 1937) is a Polish cinematographer, best known for his work on Midnight Cowboy.

He was born 13 November 1937 in Kraków, Poland, the son of a judge. In 1939, he and his family were deported to a Siberian labor camp, and not allowed to return to Kraków until 1947.Holender studied Architecture at PWSFTviT in Lódz, from where he graduated in 1964.Midnight Cowboy was Holender's first cinematography assignment; he was recommended to Schlesinger by Holender's childhood friend, filmmaker Roman Polanski. According to Schlesinger his inspiration to make the movie came from the 1967 Yugoslav film When I Am Dead and Gone by a Serbian director Živojin Pavlović.

Aleksandar Petrović (film director)

Aleksandar "Saša" Petrović (14 January 1929 – 20 August 1994) was a French-born acclaimed Serbian and Yugoslav film director who was one of the leading European directors in the 1960s and one of the major figures of the Yugoslav Black Wave. Two of his films were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: Three in 1966 and I Even Met Happy Gypsies (Feather Gatherers) in 1967. The latter (original title "Skupljaci perja") was the first movie that presented the existence of Gypsies in society and everyday life; it was also the first full-feature film where Gypsies spoke their own language, Roma. Most roles were interpreted by real Gypsies; this was their movie. "As a child, I observed them and saw in these people faith and irrationality," said Petrović I Even Met Happy Gypsies won the FIPRESCI Prize and the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival; it also received a nomination for a Golden Globe. In 1967 Petrović was a member of the jury at the 17th Berlin International Film Festival.One of his most famous films is It Rains in My Village. Petrović found inspiration for this film in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel The Possessed. The film was nominated for a Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1969 Cannes Film FestivalIn 1973, Petrović was forced to leave his post at the Belgrade Film Academy after being accused of holding anti-communist views by the communist government of Yugoslavia. In late December 1989, he joined the founding committee of the Democratic Party in Serbia, the first opposition anti-communist party in Serbia.

Dubravka Sekulić

Dubravka Sekulić (Serbian Cyrillic: Дубравка Секулић; born 1980) is a Serbian professor, author and architect. Since 2016, she has taught at the "Institute of Contemporary Art", which is part of the Graz University of Technology in Austria. She is known for writing about privatization and its consequences on Belgrade's urban planning, stating that public space ought to be ".. a resource whose development should bring equality, not the basis for profit making". Her main field of research examines how modern cities change within the framework of spatial, legal and economic modalities.

French New Wave

New Wave (French: La Nouvelle Vague) is a French film movement which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a form of European art cinema, and is often referred to as one of the most influential movements in the history of cinema. New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of the traditional film conventions then dominating France, and by a spirit of iconoclasm. Common features of the New Wave included radical experimentation with editing, visual style, and narrative, as well as engagement with the social and political upheavals of the era.The term was first used by a group of French film critics and cinephiles associated with the magazine Cahiers du cinéma in the late 1950s and 1960s, who rejected the Tradition de qualité ("Tradition of Quality") of mainstream French cinema, which "emphasized craft over innovation, privileged established directors over new directors, and preferred the great works of the past to experimentation." This was apparent in a manifesto-like essay written by François Truffaut in 1954, Une certaine tendance du cinéma français, where he denounced the adaptation of safe literary works into unimaginative films.Using portable equipment and requiring little or no set up time, the New Wave way of filmmaking presented a documentary style. The films exhibited direct sounds on film stock that required less light. Filming techniques included fragmented, discontinuous editing, and long takes. The combination of objective realism, subjective realism, and authorial commentary created a narrative ambiguity in the sense that questions that arise in a film are not answered in the end.

Journalist (1979 film)

Journalist (Novinar) is a 1979 Croatian drama film directed and written by Fadil Hadžić and starring Rade Šerbedžija, Fabijan Šovagović and Stevo Žigon.

A politically provocative drama about an idealistic journalist who fights against censorship in the communist system, it is considered one of Hadžić's best and most popular films, as well as one of the most prominent Croatian films of the 1970s.

Lazar Stojanović

Lazar Stojanović (1 March 1944 – 4 March 2017) was a director, journalist, intellectual, anti-war activist and one of the most prominent cultural dissidents of socialist Yugoslavia. His movie Plastic Jesus (1971) was banned in SFR Yugoslavia for eighteen years (1972-1990) and has caused Stojanović several years of imprisonment. After the collapse of Yugoslavia, during Slobodan Milošević’s regime in the 1990s, Stojanović was a journalist, theatre and documentary film director and anti-war activist.

List of apocalyptic films

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List of cinema of the world

This is a list of cinema of the world by continent and country.

Lordan Zafranović

Lordan Zafranović (born 11 February 1944) is a Czech-Croatian film director, and a major figure of the Yugoslav Black Wave. He lives in Prague and in Zagreb.

Meat pie Western

Meat pie western, also known as a kangaroo western, is a category of Western-style films or TV series set in the Australian outback. The first term is a play on the term Spaghetti Western, used for Italian-made Westerns, relating in both cases to what are regarded as national dishes. Some critics have said that the category is important to differentiate more Americanised Australian films from those with a more historical basis, such as films about bushrangers (also called bushranger films).

Mika Antić

Miroslav "Mika" Antić (Serbian Cyrillic: Мирослав "Мика" Антић; 14 March 1932 – 24 June 1986) was a Serbian poet, film director, journalist and painter. He was a major figure of the Yugoslav Black Wave. He had six children. His oldest son, Igor, is a visual artist.

Mića Popović

Miodrag "Mića" Popović (23 June 1923 – 22 December 1996) was a Yugoslavian painter, experimental filmmaker and one of the major figures of the Yugoslav Black Wave.

Open Letter on the Position and Status of Serbs in Croatia

The Open Letter on the Position and Status of Serbs in Croatia was sent to the addresses of prominent Croatians and Serbians in September 2008. The letter spoke about the adverse social and economic circumstances in which Croatian Serbs had lived.

Opera film

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

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.

Peđa D'Boy

Predrag Jovanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Предраг Јовановић) (born 14 April 1950, Kruševac, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia) is a Serbian musician and entertainer. He is known as a former frontman of the Yugoslav group D' Boys by his stage alias Peđa D' Boy, and previously as a vocalist for the German rock band Jane.

When I Am Dead and Gone

Kad budem mrtav i beo (English: When I Am Dead And Gone), is an ex-Yugoslavian movie from 1967. The movie was directed by Živojin Pavlović based on script written by Ljubiša Kozomara and Gordan Mihić. It stars the famous Serbian actors Dragan Nikolić and Ružica Sokić.

It is considered by critics to be one of the greatest achievements of the so-called Yugoslav Black Wave of the 1960s. Yugoslav Film Archive officially listed it as the second-best Yugoslavian movie of all time.

Želimir Žilnik

Želimir Žilnik (Serbian Cyrillic: Желимир Жилник; pronounced [ʒɛ̌limiːr ʒîlniːk]; born 8 September 1942) is a Serbian film director best known as one of the major figures of the Yugoslav Black Wave film movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He is noted for his socially engaging style of filmmaking and criticism of censorship that was commonplace during the Yugoslav communist era. After the fall of communism and the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, he became an outspoken critic of Slobodan Milošević's regime in Serbia.

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