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Rani radovi (1969)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  October 1969 (USA)
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Inspired by Karl Marx's "Das Kapital", three men and a girl named Jugoslava decide to wake up the conscience within the working class and peasants. Faced with the primitivism and a lack of ... See full summary »


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Title: Rani radovi (1969)

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Cast overview:
Milja Vujanovic ...
Bogdan Tirnanic
Cedomir Radovic
Marko Nikolic
Slobodan Aligrudic
Zelimira Zujovic


Inspired by Karl Marx's "Das Kapital", three men and a girl named Jugoslava decide to wake up the conscience within the working class and peasants. Faced with the primitivism and a lack of morale, their revolution fails and the girl is one to be sacrificed as a witness of their unsuccessful attempt. Written by Mario

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Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

October 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rani radovi  »

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Film was banned by Yugoslavian censors in 1969. See more »


Featured in Zabranjeni bez zabrane (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

The film dealing with 'the sense for ideas that change the world', with longing for the revolutionary Thing
21 November 2011 | by (Belgrade) – See all my reviews

With more then fifty films produced since the mid-1960s, Želimir Žilnik might be the most prolific film-maker in the history of Serbian and Yugoslav cinema. His films, usually categorized as documentary fictions ('docu-dramas'), share a remarkable consistency in their 'anti-style', their specific mode of production and their direct political engagement. His fictional documentarism (his participatory docu-fiction) is characterized by a specific method of working with non-professional actors that blurred distinctions between what is 'acted' and 'scripted' and what is 'spontaneous' and 'authentic'.

His first full-length film, Rani radovi (Early Works, 1968), is usually classified under the label of 'Black Wave' of Yugoslav cinematography, but it has a special niche in this category which was formulated to incite ideological backlash and censorship against critical cinema in socialist Yugoslavia. As opposed to the documentary-realist intention of "Black wave" to show 'reality as it is', Žilnik based his film on a rather unlikely story, about a group of young revolutionaries who embark on an improbable expedition to raise socialist consciousness of the peasants in rural communities of the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, and attempted to foment direct cultural-political action among the masses.

However, this revolutionary group is confronted with major obstacles: in trying to get from the city to the villages their hip 2CV car gets stuck in the mud. Their highly informed Marxist-Leninist lectures are met with total misunderstanding from the 'masses', and their attempts to build solidarity with the peasants are hampered by their learned phrases that imply that the peasants class will eventually disappear from the historical arena. Finally, they are beaten up by villagers, and the only girl among them is raped by the mob. In the concluding scene she is killed by her comrades in a farcical revolutionary act.

The film may be seen as criticizing the inapplicability of revolutionary discourse: the 'symptomal reading' of the ideological text brings about the deconstruction of the spontaneous experience of its meaning. However, the film is actually about the unleashing of the very enjoyment of revolutionary, avant-guardist behavior: the group engages in heated theoretical-political verbal exchanges accompanied by sexual ones, they concoct playful Situationist performances, and finally they grotesquely suffer and sacrifice for revolutionary ideals. The film plays around 'the sense for ideas that change the world', as its female protagonist declares, a longing for the revolutionary Thing. The work of Želimir Žilnik marks an attempt to re-invent the complexity of Marxist discourse in relation to its concrete living form. One can view it is a reflection of the events of 1968 but it is much more then a "period piece".

This film is one of the marvels of Yugoslav cinema of the 1960s and 1970s and it may not only be interesting today because of its historical importance but also because of its current relevance as it deals with the ambiguities of radical political actions and reflects relations between revolutionary theory and direct action. Not to be missed.

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