‘Films should be critical and socially committed’

Nenad Puhovski's interview with this year's laureate of 50 Years Award Bogdan Žižić.

High Noonish program presented today this year’s laureate of 50 Years Award Bogdan Žižić. The film director and producer Nenad Puhovski spoke with him. In his long career Žižić directed a dozen feature-length fiction films but he is best known by one hundred or so various documentary and short films. He is one of the greatest and most productive documentary filmmakers and most awarded Croatian filmmakers in general.

Marriage and film – similarities

Having completed his law studies he decided to give up divorce suits and switch to filmmaking. However, he says he can see many similarities between the two. Žižić compares the happiness at the beginning of marriage and subsequent gradual disappointment and degradation of the relationship with the process of filmmaking which, after the initial enthusiasm, can sometimes fail to bring satisfaction. As he explains it, this is one of the reasons that made him give up fiction films and turn to documentary films.

Lack of Trust in Protagonists

The most important aspect of film is its social commitment in the world we live in. He says that his films usually do not include dialogues because, in his opinion, witnesses are not reliable; they are often boring and not credible enough. This is why he writes his films based on facts and his own conclusions. Subjects such as repression, morale of victors of war and dubious reliability of human memory have always occupied him. He also joined his great friend Alfred pal, a painter, when he visited the Goli Otok communist labor camp where Pal had served time. As Žižić wants Pal to live in his memory in a nice and positive context, he avoided hard experiences and shared with the audience some joyful anecdotes of him and his friend Pal.

Žižić spoke not only about his achievements on film, but also on the growing trend of nationalism which, in his opinion, is not patriotism but hatred against others. He also mentioned fascism and other types of oppression he had witnessed in his life and work. Žižić presented it all in his unique, picturesque way, which made the audience feel as if they were watching one of his films.

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