Doctoral candidate Boris Trbic co-writes award-winning film



Monash University film doctoral candidate Boris Trbic has co-written an award-winning documentary film, The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater.

The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater reconstructs the public debate about Dušan Makavejev's film, W.R. Mysteries of Organism, held at the Arena Movie Theatre in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad, in May 1971.  Embedded in the specific geopolitical context of communist Yugoslavia and the final decade of Tito's rule, it follows the uprecedented success of Makavejev's film at the Cannes Film Festival, and the public discussion organized by the local branch of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.

The exclusive sound recordings and transcripts of the event were discovered after 47 years. They were recorded by the sound recordist Slobodan Miletić who secretly placed Nagra magnetophone under his seat and documented the heated public debate about Makavejev's film.  Тhe recording contains unique, previously unpublished testimonies and discussions of the participants in the debate, communist dignitaries, party appratchiks, artists, poets, filmmakers, critics, and the director himself. They emerge as the document of an era, testifying about the relationship between the totalitarian society and the artist, and his creative freedom.

During the discussion, a large number of participants criticize and condemn the integrity of the filmmaker.  One after another, they call for the political differentiation and ban of the film. Their discussions gradually become more aggressive and slide into the atmosphere of witchunt and ideological purge. Opposing them, only a handful of artists and intellectuals proposed to debate the aesthetics, formal and innovative approaches of the filmmaker, and reject the ideological ostracism and labelling of the artist. The end of the debate culminates with the open, emotive defence of Dušan Makavejev pleading for the integrity and freedom of film art.

The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater was directed by Serbian documentarist and Academy Award Nominee, Goran Radovanovic. Radovanovic co-wrote the script with Boris Trbic, a Melbourne-based filmmaker, who teaches screen and media at Swinburne University of Technology and is a doctoral candidate at Monash.

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