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Film. <i>Cinema Komunisto</i>

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
12:00 AM
Helmut Stern Auditorium, U-M Museum of Art, 525 S. State

Mila Turajlic, director. In Serbian with English subtitles (101 min., 2011). Post-screening Q&amp;A with the director. <br>Sponsor: CREES.

Leka Konstantinovic was the personal film projectionist of Yugoslavia’s President Josip Broz Tito for 32 years. In that period he showed Tito a total of 8801 films. Along with Yugoslav directors, film stars and studio bosses he tells the story of how Marshal Tito (1892-1980) gave form to the post-war federal state of Yugoslavia, while at the same using the film industry to create the narrative of the new country. Using footage from dozens of forgotten Yugoslav films, Cinema Komunisto tells the story of Yugoslavia – the way it was never told on screen. Pulling together exclusive behind-the-scenes archive the documentary recreates the story of a country that may itself have been a fiction. From the collapsing film sets of the ghost town that remains of the massive communist state-run studios, to the privacy of Tito’s screening room, we meet a man who obsessively watched a film every night, and spent his days reading, even editing scripts while also running a country. Stars such as Richard Burton, Sofia Loren and Orson Welles add a touch of glamour to the national effort, appearing in super-productions financed by the state. “No problem” was the standard answer for whatever a director needed – with soldiers serving their entire tour of duty as extras on war films, and even the blowing up of a real bridge to create an Oscar-nominated film. Cinema Komunisto is told with clips from over 60 feature films, mixed with the bittersweet memories of the storytellers, with plenty of funny anecdotes and remarkable details. With Tito’s death, the entire Yugoslav film industry crumbled, and a decade later, the rest of the country followed suit. Today, nothing remains but the old studio complexes, which are rotting away, and the filmed memories of a country that no longer exists.

The director will be giving a related lecture the following day, Mar 14, at Noon. Click here for more information