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

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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 415 users  
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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)

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Vera Jovanovic ...
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Ana Milosavljevic ...
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Pera Milosavljevic ...
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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)  »

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Innocence Unprotected  »

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User Reviews

 
Quixotic essaying
2 July 2013 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Wow, I've only recently discovered Makavejev and this is his most mind-blowing so far.

In simple terms what this is, he finds an old Yugoslav film from the 40s and goes on to wrap his own 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.

Superficially, this lets him offer a portrait of a country and the change of times. But there's much more here.

That film, the first talkie in the country, was banned by the communist government for no other reason than it was made and shown during the occupation so in some commissar's mind it had to be collaborationist and reactionary. The filmmaker was tried for treason but acquitted.

The film was in fact the silliest thing. Essentially a vanity project of its maker who was also the main star, a strongman who performed various 'impossible feats' around Yugoslavia at the time, (freeing himself from chains while suspended in a box high in the air etc).

Far from anything ambitious, it's a tawdry melodrama where an innocent maiden declares her undying love for him, whose 'feats' we see as her daydreaming about how marvelous and strong he is and later as he valiantly rescues her from an old creep.

Make no mistake, Makavejev is making a deeply layered political film but so different from the norm.

The norm would be for example an act of noble defiance exposing some overwhelming cruelty. Think of Spielberg's film where a beautiful horse gallops through horrible war. Mawkish. Here the act of defiance is the making of a film that meant nothing of the sort, it's not the story of some noble representative of the people but a buffoonish entertainer, but nonetheless stands as humorous token of creatively defying gloom and defeatism.

And the cruel opposition unmasked in the process is what? A communist regime who'd be so stupidly totalitarian as to ban this obviously goofy film we see.

So how marvelous that we find out that the man isn't wiser in his old age, he's still the same lovely fool flexing his muscles for 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 to impress people. And that it is all accepted as a nice story to tell, without misery.

This is marvelous stuff.

All these plates spin together — 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.

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


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