Nikola Tanhofer

25.12.1926, Sesvete - 24.11.1998, Zagreb


Nikola Tanhofer started to work on film at seventeen years old as a member of the amateur film club Romanija. He studied at the University of Philosophy, and
after WW II worked as a laboratory technician, sound recording technician,
cinematographer, and reporter. In 1949, he started to work more intensely as a
cinematographer of feature and short films. He made his debut as a
cinematographer in the film Zastava (1949) by Branko Marjanović in which he immediately achieved international standing. For the first time in
former Yugoslavia, he used the so-called backward projection. After several
successful projects as a cinematographer - Plavi devet (1950), Ciguli
(1952), Sinji galeb (1953), Opsada (1956) – he made his
directing debut with the film Nije bilo uzalud (1957). In 1958, he made
his most famous film H-8. In that same year, he made the film Klempo,
one of the first color Croatian films. Until 1970, when he made his last film
Bablje ljeto
, he had realized five other films. In 1969, he founded the
department for film and television cinematography at the Academy of Drama
in Zagreb, where he had taught for years. He published the book
Filmska fotografija
(1981) and the study O boji (1997). He won many awards, such as Vjesnik’s award Krešo Golik for a lifetime achievement in film arts.


Bablje ljeto (1970)
Ključ (1965) (cinematographer)
Svanuće (1964)
Dvostruki obruč (1963)
Sreća dolazi u 9 (1961)
Osma vrata (1959)
Klempo (1958)
H-8 (1958)
Nije bilo uzalud (1957)
Opsada (1956) (cinematographer)
Ogledalo (1955) (cinematographer)
Sinji galeb (1953) (cinematographer)
Ciguli Miguli (1952) (cinematographer)
Plavi 9 (1950) (cinematographer)
Zastava (1949) (cinematographer)

Films by this director

Nije bilo uzalud


Directed by: Nikola Tanhofer

A young doctor, Jure, arrives with his wife to a backward little town in a swamp area. Soon there is an outburst of fever among the inhabitants and the doctor wants to treat it. However, the people from the village are superstitious and instead call the village sorceress. Then someone is murdered and the doctor, with the help of a young girl, sets off in search of the killer…

black and white, 97 min.


(Yugoslavia, Jadran film, 1958)

Directed by: Nikola Tanhofer

This is an action drama/catastrophe film that tells the story of different people who travel on a bus and a truck driver. The bus and the truck will collide in a rainy night and only a few passengers will survive. H8, part of the license plate, is all that is known about the vehicle that caused this accident… According to many, this is the best film by Nikola Tanhofer. It won two Golden Arenas – for the best film and director – and the audience award Jelen at the Pula film festival.

b/w, digital restauracija, 106'

Sreća dolazi u 9


Directed by: Nikola Tanhofer

This is the first Croatian (and former Yugoslav) science fiction feature film and, based on motifs from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. In this film, Tanhofer explored the unconventional determinants of the genre and questioned the creative possibilities of special effects (that he managed to create within the limits of the technically undeveloped cinematography), and their aesthetic justification in the service of fairy tale content. This film is famous for the last role of that Grand Dam...

b/w, 102 min

Dvostruki obruč


Directed by: Nikola Tanhofer
PHOTOGRAPHY: Tomislav Pinter

This is one of the anthological films of Croatian cinematography, an intense thriller with the theme of WW II. In it, Tanhofer once again proved himself as a precise director in mastering the story. Tanhofer himself often emphasized that he was very pleased with this film because in it he “satisfied all of the laws and solved all of the problems of a genre film”.

b/w, 96 min



Directed by: Nikola Tanhofer

This film deals with the contemporary theme of emotionally complicated relationships between little people. Tanhofer made this film in the period of the so-called auteur cinematography and throughout it experimented with the changing size of frames.

b/w, 95'



Directed by: Nikola Tanhofer

This is the story of a group of young amateur pilots with impressive shots of air stunts. It is also one of the first Croatian films made in color.

color, 54 min
See full programe