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Innocence Unprotected (1968)
"Nevinost bez zastite" (original title)

7.2
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Documentary about the famous Serbian athlete and movie enthusiast who made a feature film during the Nazi occupation of Belgrade and had some problems after the liberation because of that.

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Title: Innocence Unprotected (1968)

Innocence Unprotected (1968) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Dragoljub Aleksic ...
Himself
Bratoljub Gligorijevic ...
Himself
Vera Jovanovic ...
Herself
Ana Milosavljevic ...
Herself
Pera Milosavljevic ...
Himself
Ivan Zivkovic ...
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Documentary about the famous Serbian athlete and movie enthusiast who made a feature film during the Nazi occupation of Belgrade and had some problems after the liberation because of that. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

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Release Date:

23 October 1992 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Innocence Unprotected  »

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Edited from Nevinost bez zastite (1942) See more »

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Layered quixotic tension
2 July 2013 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Wow, I only recently discovered Makavejev and this is his most intriguing so far.

Here, he finds an old Yugoslav film from the 40s, the first talkie produced there, and wraps ('supervenes' may be a better word) his film around it, by showing footage from that film, archive footage of the time, all the while interviewing the cast and crew in their old age as they walk around Belgrade reminiscing. A film about a film was far from a novel trope even then, but here's why this is so unique and fascinating, a rich tapestry of fictions.

That film, made in the 40s, was banned by the communist government for no other reason than it was made and shown during the occupation, even though it's not a political film nor was it made with Nazi or collaborationist money. The filmmaker was tried for treason but acquitted.

The film was essentially a vanity project of its maker who was also the main star, a strongman who performed various impossible 'feats' around the country at the time (freeing himself from chains while suspended in a box high in the air, gliding on wires holding weights with his teeth, etc.). Far from being artistic, it's a tawdry melodrama where an innocent maiden declares her undying love for the man, whose 'feats' we see as her daydreaming about him and later as he valiantly rescues her from an old creep.

Makajev is making a political film. It's different than the norm, but let's see what the norm would be.

There has to be an act of defiance which brings suffering, surely. Maybe young rebels in the woods? A distraught mother? A beautiful horse, as in that mawkish Spielberg film? And usually, this is played against a cruel and overwhelming system. Here, the act is the making of a film that was not some meaningful artistic gesture but nevertheless stands as humorous token of a creative defiance to gloom and defeatism. It is not the story of some noble representative of the people and all that's good who was stifled, but a buffoonish entertainer, remarkable in his own bizarre right. And the opposition is what? A communist regime who'd be so stupidly totalitarian as to ban this goofy film we see.

None of which is to say that nobler stands against oppression did not happen, nor of course that more cruel wrongs were not inflicted, but it matters that we get this instead of all that. It's a more human, more ordinary absurdity in the machine being sketched, allowing subtler observation of the cogs.

So how wonderful that we find our man isn't wiser in his old age, still essentially the same lovely fool flexing his muscles before the camera, loving the attention. That one of his main attractions, the human cannonball, was inspired by an old Soviet film, footage of which we see. That people died as a result of it. That when a 'New Serbia' is announced in a newsreel title, we're not sure if the newness refers to the occupation or the liberation. That we see, near the end, what became of our own quixotic hero in his quest for impressing people. And that it is all accepted as a nice story to tell, without misery, the machinery still the same.

So this creates a marvelous and layered metaphorical intensity.

All these plates spin together, perfectly locked—the film-within as the tawdry thing it is, as the vain self image still carried now, and elevated as token of expression in an oppressive state and victim of another. The man in his old age performing his reckless stunts holding a Yugoslav flag, the image emblematic of foolishness, vanity, achievement, dream, all being simultaneously present in the image. It often teeters close to a Czech formlessness but the narrative spine is so strong, it holds.

I place it on par with F for Fake and The Last Bolshevik. You couldn't ask from Herzog for a better film on folly and cosmic comedy.


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