Tomislav Kurelec:

Films from the ten years of FP by CFCA

During the 1990s, the big screens in Croatia weren't showing anything other than commercial, mainly Hollywood films, and sometimes recent local feature film productions, which were a largely unpopular exception among cinema operators. At the time, film lovers had no opportunity to see the classics of world cinema, contemporary European and other non-American feature-length films, nor any other achievements in other forms of the seventh art which has a lot more to offer than just feature-length films. A significant shift happened in 2001, when Croatian Film Association in collaboration with Croatian Cinematheque started running Films Programs By continuously screening the Cinematheque program, as well as valuable works not intended for commercial screenings in Croatia, then short, documentary and experimental films. This provided university and high-school students, and many other film lovers, with continuous film education and the pleasure of watching films they had not been able to see in a long time.

Film Programmes became a real centre point of film culture in 2004 upon entering Tuškanac theatre, so it rightfully celebrates this 10th anniversary by screening a series of extremely valuable films. The program starts on Sunday, March 16 with Charlie Chaplin's silent comedies accompanied by live music, as they were screened back in the day, something Tuškanac theatre has been occasionally organising for years. This time the music will be performed by Igor Savin on the piano, also accompanying one of the best silent comedies The General by Buster Keaton, and Robert J. Flaherty's Nanook of the North from 1922, which played a crucial role in the development of documentary film. In addition, we will screen two classics of German Expressionism with recorded music –Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau and the extraodinary Metropolis by Fritz Lang, the restored version from 2010.

Even though the time between the two world wars was mainly depicted in silent film, Czech director Gustav Machatý's Ecstasy (1933) was an exception, not only for being scandalous and controversial by showing unimaginable erotic images and nudity of the lead actress in a film scheduled for screenings in regular theatre programs, thus launching Hedy Lamarr's Hollywood career, but also for the great role of the Croatian actor Zvonimir Rogoz who was enjoying a successful film and theatre career in Prague at the time. Apart from Chaplin and Ecstasy, on the first day we will also screen the latest production of Croatian Film Association My Craft by Mladen Matičević and Slavica (1947) by Vjekoslav Afrić, the first Yugoslav feature-length film in the production of Belgrade Avala film. However, the director and most of the film crew together with lead actress Irena Kolesar were from Croatia, and the story is set in Dalmatia during Italian occupation in World War II.

The program features big films of European authors made after World War II, including three titles by Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal, Scenes from a Marriage, Fanny and Alexander), and the most original European comedy film maker Jacques Tati (The Big Day, Mr Hulot's Holiday, My Uncle), two titles by Robert Bresson (The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne, The Trial of Joan of Arc) and Luis Buñuel (Belle de Jour, That Obscure Object of Desire). We will also see Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini, Rocco and his Brothers by Luchino Visconti, First Name: Carmen by Jean-Luc Godard, Lola by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders.

Outstanding achievements of selected films will undoubtedly urge film lovers to (again) see some of the listed titles, which are an excellent representation of Film Programmes in Tuškanac cinema over the last decade, expanding the film selection in Zagreb, as well as influencing increased film knowledge and appreciation of its true values.