people

Dušan Makavejev

Dušan Makavejev

“Narrative structure is prison; it is tradition; it is a lie; it is a formula that is imposed,” Dušan Makavejev once said. The Serbian filmmaker, who rose to cinematic fame or infamy (depending on who you ask) in Communist Yugoslavia in the sixties and early seventies, believed in breaking all the rules. Through collage and juxtaposition, Buñuelian absurdity and sexual confrontation, Makavejev freed narrative cinema from all oppressive norms. Influenced as much by Mickey Mouse cartoons and Laurel and Hardy two-reelers as he was by Russian silent films and 1930s British documentaries, Makavejev constructed unpredictable, genre-defying works that opposed the bureaucracy and dogmatic teachings of the socialist state. Man Is Not a Bird (1965), his startling debut, sets a fictional character drama in a real mining complex, and is filmed with gritty realism. His subsequent films are fiction-documentary hybrids as well, and include Love Affair, or The Case of the Missing Switch­board Operator (1967); the whimsical found-footage farce Innocence Unprotected (1968); and the astonishing WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971), his international breakthrough, which ultimately resulted in his indictment for being a “dissident Marxist” and his 1973 exile from his home country. He continued provoking moviegoers the world over, however, making waves with the controversial Sweet Movie (1974) and the art-house hits Montenegro (1981) and The Coca-Cola Kid (1985).