In commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the passing of Dušan Makavejev, Anthology presents the first major North American retrospective in 25 years of this world-renowned director. Best remembered for his unhinged sense of humor, his provocative and pioneering methods of montage, and his uncompromising political engagement, Makavejev made fundamental contributions to the golden age of European and international film modernism in the 1960s and 70s.
Dušan Makavejev (b. 1932) came of age in the post-WWII era, during the early years of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. For some five decades he actively participated in shaping the cinematic as well as the broader cultural and intellectual currents in his homeland. From a kino club member and activist in the 1950s, to a director of unconventional documentary shorts in the early 1960s, Mak (as he was known by his friends and colleagues) established himself in the mid-to-late 1960s as a highly innovative author with radical aesthetic and socio-political sensibilities. His debut feature-length narrative film, MAN IS NOT A BIRD (1965), was made in the midst of the prolific New Film tendency in Yugoslav cinema. By the end of the decade he rocketed to international fame with two more features, and in 1971 directed his masterpiece, WR: MYSTERIES OF THE ORGANISM, an iconic work of both the politically controversial Yugoslav Black Wave and the transatlantic countercultural revolution. A number of international productions and co-productions, unmistakably rooted in Makavejev’s emancipatory political-surrealist idiom, followed in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.
Makavejev’s place in the pantheon of film art is unquestionable. This retrospective presents the entirety of Makavejev’s feature-length output as a director, with all films screened from 35mm prints. The program also offers a selection of shorts that exemplify the unbridled creativity of his early filmmaking. International film culture lost a true giant in 2019. However, Mak’s films live on as optimistic signposts in eternal search of the mysteries, the loves, and the joys that light the path to a better future.