03/06/2009 16:57

Retrospective of a Domestic Author: ALEKSANDAR PETROVIĆ

Film and Media Festival Cinema City of is proud to present the selection Retrospective of a Domestic Author which is dedicated to the film output of one of the most important Serbian and European directors Aleksandar Saša Petrović. Eighty years after the birth of the author, the festival audience will be able to see the films which rightly represent the most vital heights of Yugoslav film. Aleksandar Petrović is considered to be the founder of so called Yugoslav new wave. He was an honoured professor at the Academy of Drama Arts in Belgrade. He wrote a few books about film and was a noted film reviewer. At Film and Media Festival Cinema City, within Retrospective of a Domestic Author, the audiences will be able to see eight of the best works of this world renowned author: And Love Has Vanished, It Rains in my Village, Three, I Even Met Happy Gypsies, Days, Group Portrait With a Lady, The Master and Margherite and Migrations.

Petrović was born in 1929 in Paris. He studied to become a director at the prestigious Academy of Drama Arts (FAMU) in Prague. Because of the deterioration of political relations between Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, Petrović was forced to leave his studies and return to Belgrade, where he graduated in Art History in 1955. He started being involved with film as early as 1948 through various creative projects. He started out as an assistant director and a director of documentaries. He received a few awards for his early work. He had great success with the following documentaries: Flight over Marsh (1956), Petar Dobrović (1958), Roads (1959) and Meetings (1963).

After the two films which had had mixed reception, And Love Has Vanished from 1961 and Days from 1963, Petrović went on to direct a very successful war drama Three. It won accolades in Yugoslavia and Europe and was nominated for the prestigious Oscar award in the category of the Best Foreign Film in 1966. Even though at the time it did not do well in the cinemas Three, which the festival audience will be able to see within the selection Retrospective of a Domestic Author , is considered today as one of the best works of Yugoslav filmmaking.

I Even Met Happy Gypsies (1967), a metaphorical drama about Gypsies, was even greater success. The film was nominated for Oscar and won the Grand Jury award as well as FIPRESCI award at the prestigious Film festival in Cannes. The film I Even Met Happy Gypsies has been translated into over hundred languages and has been very successful with the audiences all over the world.

In 1972 Aleksandar Petrović managed to transform a masterpiece of literature into a masterpiece of cinematography. The Master and Margherite is the film version of the famous novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. The story is a subtle and very original satire of the society and the system done through portraying the demonic sides of human nature and the supernatural forces as alive. His next big success was the German film Group Portrait With a Lady starring Romy Schneider, who was one of the brightest German film stars. Schneider acted for the great directors such as Wells, Visconti, Chabroll. Group Portrait With a Lady, based on the novel of the Nobel prize winner Heinrich Boll, showcases different human relationships in the centre of which is a lady, Leny played by Romy Schneider.

In 1989 Petrović filmed another literary masterpiece thus creating another film of lasting value. The film Migrations, based on the novel of Miloš Crnjanski, presented a timeless saga about the family Isakovič and in doing so masterfully laid human soul bare down to the smallest detail at the same time outgrowing its historical context.