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A Hole in the Soul

Dušan Makavejev
Rupa u duši
UK 1994 / 50’

A Hole in the Soul is Dušan Makavejev’s most recent film and an autobiographical documentary. The director wanders through Belgrade, recalling the city of his childhood against the reality of 1994, but this is also the story of Makavejev the filmmaker and his only partially tongue-in-cheek climb up the Hollywood ladder of success. Makavejev jokingly talks about the modern film world, juxtaposing the American producer system against his own cinematic vision. Is it enough to dress right and find an agent to be a director? Can you be a Yugoslav without a Yugoslavia? The irony belies a longing and the titular hole in the soul is the emptiness left by a country that does not exist. The film offers a declaration of Makavejev’s own identity, in the face of history and others.

Marta Miś

Dušan Makavejev

Director, screenwriter and leading exponent of the ‘novi film’ new wave of Balkan cinema, Dušan Makavejev was born in Belgrade in the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1932. He first studied psychology at the University of Belgrade, before moving on to film direction studies at the Academy of Theatre, Film, Radio and Television. As a student, in the 1950s, Makavejev had an intense interest in film criticism – very much like his distant colleagues who would form the core of the French New Wave movement. He became active within the ‘Beograd’ film club and worked on theater productions, both as an actor and director. He began making his own short films in 1953, and quickly developed an interest in documentary filmmaking, which greatly influenced his style and technique. His feature debut, as director and writer, Man Is Not a Bird (1965) already showed his unconventional and original vision. His fourth film WR – Mysteries of the Organism (1971) caused great controversy, put Makavejev on the Yugoslav government’ list of suspect artists, and went on to become a cult classic. Following its release, Makavejev emigrated to France. Thereafter he worked abroad for two decades, including in the United States, where he was a guest of Francis Ford Coppola. He first returned to his homeland at the end of the 1980s, and today shares his time between Belgrade and Paris. His films have screened at all the major festivals, including Cannes and Berlinale, and he has served on festival juries in Berlin (1970) and Venice (2004). In 1998, he received the Mostra Special Award at the São Paulo IFF.

Filmography

1953 Jatagan mala (doc., short)

1955 Pieczęć / Pečat / The Seal (short)

1957 Rozbite lustro Antoniego / Antonijevo razbijeno ogledalo / Anthony’s Broken Mirror (short)

1958 Nie wierzcie w pomniki / Spomenicima ne treba verovati / Don’t Believe in Monuments (short)

1958 Album pszczelarza / Slikovnica pčelara / Beekeeper’s Scrapbook (doc., short)

1958 Śniące kolory / Boje sanjaju / Colors Are Dreaming (doc., short)

1958 Przeklęte święto / Prokleti praznik / Damned Holiday (doc., short)

1959 Co to jest rada zakładowa? / Što je radnički savjet? / What Is a Workers’ Council? (short)

1961 Edukacyjna bajka / Pedagoška bajka / Educational Fairy Tale (short)

1961 Ene, due, rabe / Eci, pec, pec / One Potato, Two Potato (short)

1961 Uśmiech ’61 / Osmjeh ’61 / Smile ’61 (short)

1962 Miss Piękności ’62 / Ljepotica ’62 / Miss Beauty ’62 (doc., short)

1962 Film o książce / Film o knjizi A.B.C. / Film About a Book (short)

1962 Pochód / Parada / Parade (doc., short)

1962 Precz z płotami / Dole plotovi / Down with the Fences (short)

1964 Nowe zwierzę domowe / Nova domača životinja / New Domestic Animal (doc., short)

1964 Nowa zabawka / Nova igračka / New Toy (short)

1965 Człowiek nie jest ptakiem / Čovek nije tica / Man Is Not a Bird

1967 Miłosny przypadek, czyli tragedia telefonistki / Ljubavni slučaj ili tragedija službenice P.T.T. / Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator

1968 Bezbronna niewinność / Nevinost bez zaštite / Innocence Unprotected (doc.)

1971 Tęsknię za Sonją Henie / Nedostaje mi Sonja Henie / I Miss Sonia Henie (short)

1971 WR – tajemnice organizmu / W.R. – Misterije organizma / WR: Mysteries of the Organism

1974 Sweet Movie

1974 Politfuck (as Sam Rotterdam, segment in Wet Dreams)

1981 Czarnogóra, czyli perły i wieprze / Montenegro / Montenegro – Or Pigs and Pearls

1985 Coca-Cola Kid / The Coca-Cola Kid

1988 Manifest / Manifesto

1993 Goryle kąpią się w południe / Gorila se kupa u podne / Gorilla Bathes at Noon

1994 Dziura w duszy / Rupa u duši / A Hole in the Soul (doc.)

1995 Duńskie dziewczyny pokazują wszystko / Danske piger viser alt / Danish Girls Show Everything (co-dir.)

Prepared by: Marta Miś

Cast & Crew

director Dušan Makavejev
screenplay Dušan Makavejev
cinematography Radoslav Vladić
editing Mirjana Kićović
music Zoran Simjanović
cast Dušan Makavejev, Dennis Jakob, Paul Yamamoto, Melodie Annis, Rambo Amadeus
producer Bojana Marijan
production Triangle British Films
sales Dušan Makavejev
language English, Serbian
colouration colour & b&w