Hadžić – Duality of One Productiveness

When I think about the character and work of Fadil Hadžić, the first person who comes to mind as someone comparable is the famous Spanish baroque writer Lope de Vega

In his lifetime, De Vega wrote about 1800 theatre plays, which is only a fraction of his literary and social work. He evidently wrote fast, which sometimes resulted in superficial work, but he managed to become a legend of Spanish literature. When describing Fadil Hadžić, one could say much the same thing. Even though Lope de Vega did not direct films, had movies existed in his time I believe he would have cranked them out.

In Hadžić’s films there is an apparent lack of deeper characterization and analysis of social and political context. Moreover, often his narrative, story and style are done offhandedly. Hadžić’s genre films are often not perfect examples of the craft that we are used to seeing from the Hollywood masters, his dramas are not as intellectually deep as those by the masters of European modernism, and his critical blade is significantly duller than those of the pioneers of political film. However, like Lope de Vega, in spite of all the flaws that we find in his works, the extent of their virtues is sufficient to make Hadžić a classic. The quantity resulted in a certain quality. Two of Hadžić’s films in this program make sort of a pair. The more modern one, Protest, and the classic Journalist are both stories about rebels who are not merely, as they are often interpreted, victims of “inhuman production and social relations” but also unstable men full of complexes that refuse to accept reality. Protest was an instant classic, while Journalist became more valued over time - today many regard it as Hadžić’s best film. Indeed, Šerbedžija’s rebel journalist is a more multi-layered character than the short-tempered and aggressive protester Bekim Fehmiu. Hadžić’s Lov na jelene is a film of a mild critical blade directed at the regime as well as the self-destructive inner self of the main character. However, the inspector’s statement about “revolutionary morale” at the end of the film, which was supposedly added later as a concession to the regime that in 1972 became more strict, from today’s perspective looks like an ironic remark, almost like the last nail in the coffin of revolutionary morale.

Hadžić’s last film made in the time of communism, Ambasador, expresses the suggested duality of Hadžić’s characters and bears his critical blade even more openly. In this film the characters constantly mock the socialist and communist regime, but it is evident that these are only benign stings (for which, as the heroes themselves noticed, thirty years ago they would have ended up in prison, but not so much today). Nevertheless, the real tragedy is not that of the social system but rather the tragedy of the family system – a father who neglected his children for the sake of his career.

The program includes two genre films, Abeceda straha and Back of the Medal, which in a satisfying way try to follow the matrices of American thrillers and crime dramas with the unavoidable dose of political and social commentary. Desant na Drvar is a partisan war film that lacks the drama and spectacle dose of Neretva, Sutjeska or Kozara, but is much more factual than those. Da li je umro dobar čovjek is not the best shot at making a stylized satire influenced by Jacques Tati. From the three short feature films in this program, we have to pint out Hokus pokus, a comical burlesque influenced by the at the time controversial gossip about switching working hours in Yugoslavia to those of Western Europe. Hokus pokus is an example of the author’s tendency in which Hadžić had no rival in Croatian cinema – a tendency to deal with really “hot” topics of his contemporary reality. (Juraj Kukoč)