16 November 2012 4:01 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Cinema Komunisto casts light on cinematic life in communist Yugoslavia. It's a revealing study, says John Patterson

The oddest thing about Cinema Komunisto, Mira Turajlik's fascinating history of Yugoslavian cinema between the second world War and the death of Josip Tito, is the degree to which those who lived through his reign still venerate, indeed adore their late dictator. Perhaps this is unsurprising: Tito's 35 years in power now seem like a golden plateau of peace between two hellish abysses of exterminatory inter-ethnic chauvinism.

Yugoslavia broke early with Stalin and thereafter remained "unaligned", presenting a Janus-face to east and west, a hybrid "communist paradise" in which a wholesale cult of Tito's personality and a cinema of nationalist propaganda sat cheek by jowl with imported Hollywood movies and western holiday-makers splashing happily in the Adriatic. Tito's totalitarianism wasn't altogether Total.

Tito loved the movies, especially westerns, according to his devoted projectionist, interviewed here. »

- John Patterson

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