Feminist Takes on Yugoslav Black Wave Film

ADU - Academy of Dramatic Arts/Akademija dramske umjetnosti
Trg Maršala Tita 5, Zagreb
Saturday, December 12, 2015.
17.00 – 20.00

Participants: Sanja Ivekovic, Milica Tomic, Jelena Vesic, Vesna Kesic, Vedrana Madzar, Ivana Bago and Nebojsa Jovanovic.

A project by Antonia Majaca.

Yugoslava, the leading female character in Zelimir Zilnik’s iconic movie ‘Early Works’(1968), is given a leading role in the next inn the series of Delve’s Unexpected Encounters.

Disgusted by her violent and vulgar father, Yugoslav leaves home to become a leader of a small group of vagabons, in the aftermath of the 1968 student movement. The group travels to the countryside in an attempt to bring the teachings of Marx and Engels to the peasants. Yugoslava becomes passionately engaged in emancipating local village women by delivering motivational lessons on contraception. After the miserable failure of the group’s endeavor of instigating a revolutionary program, our protagonist and the accompanying three males start working in the local concrete factory in order to ‘share the destiny of the majority if they can not change it’. Propelled and inspired by her new workers’ environment, Yugoslava decides, by her own volition - to engage in a sexual encounter with a factory worker only since, as she phrases it “Engels said that the true physical love exists only among proletarians.” This means, that she is neither ‘easy’ (like almost all other female characters in Yugoslav films except the WWII female partisans fighters) nor raped (equally ubiquitous in Yugoslav main stream cinema). In a few words, Yugoslava is a political subject. Standing for the true ‘idea of communism’ warped by the red bourgeoisie and socialist statist politics, Yugoslava’s revolutionary fire burns fast and glorious, only to end with her burning in fire herself. After the series of rebellious adventures, she condemns the men in her group for giving up on the revolutionary struggle. She scorns their indifference and nihilism and therefore is punished: the last scenes of the movie show three men of the group chasing our heroine through the barren, foggy fields of Panonian mud, insulting and harassing her, only to finally shoot her, throw a blanket over her and set her body on fire. In the final scene of the film, Yugoslava is burning.

Take 1 of Case I of the Feminist Takes focuses on the character of Yugoslava, while meandering into a plethora of potential subtopics—from the betrayal of revolutionary ideals by bureaucratic state socialism, the demands and failures of 1968 student movement, and most importantly, the violent continuum through which the (un)resolved ‘women question’ migrated into the new nation states on Yugoslav territory.

Unexpected Encounters (UE) initiated by Delve in 2010, revolve around one specific case study, art work, past encounter or phenomena. The meetings are rooted in recognizing the political importance of what Delve has been referring to as the ‘delayed audience’. Each of the encounters gathers a temporary interpretative community conducting a ‘close-reading’ of a selected case. The sessions are understood as having the capacity to productively challenge normative and normalized narratives. In doing this, UE tends to be propositional, suggesting novel readings of well-known objects and phenomena, assessing them from diverse individual notes and 'theses in the making'. In this way the seminar series aims to communize individual research and open thought formation processes to group reflection.
This encounter takes place in connection to the Drugarice Vjestice by Sanja Ivekovic in the framework of the Eurokaz Theater Festival (( Participation is open but spaces are limited, so registration is necessary.

Take 2 of the Case I of the Feminist Takes will take place at Nottingham Contemporary, January 16, 2016 in the framework of the conference and project 'Monuments Should Not Be Trusted', curated by Lina Djuverovic.