Black Waves, Red Horizons – New Yugoslav Film

Apr 16, 2014

What is known today as the Yugoslav Black Wave (“crni talas”) started out in the early 1960s as New Yugoslav Film (“novi yugoslovenski film”). The movement questioned old myths, challenged the political order and called loudly for a better kind of socialism. The discrepancy between daily life and the ideal socialist society led to disappointment about the stagnation in building socialism. However, the criticism of the system was meant in a constructive way. The attack on authority and official ideologies concurred with the demand for an egalitarian society and constant further development of revolutionary ideals. A far cry from partisan film – the partisan struggle against German occupation was one of the founding narratives of socialist Yugoslavia – whose heroes dominated the post-war cinema landscape, the films of the Black Wave were about society’s flip side. Analytically acute and frequently featuring anarchic humor, they shed light on poverty, unemployment, homelessness, violence, and knew no taboos. They were often characterized by a bleak, fatalistic perspective and did not fail to provoke an official reaction.
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