Dušan Makavejev

Man Is Not a Bird

Man Is Not a Bird

Man Is Not a Bird is an antic, free-form portrait of the love lives of two less-than-heroic men who labor in a copper factory. For this first feature, following years of making documentaries and experimental shorts, Dusan Makavejev and his crew set up shop in Bor, a mining town in the mountains near Yugoslavia’s border with Bulgaria, interviewing the workers in the region and even shooting footage inside the local ore factories. Yet the result is hardly a staid tribute to the working class. Also featuring seductive Milena Dravic, who would go on to star in Makavejev’s groundbreaking WR: Mysteries of the Organism, Man Is Not a Bird is one of cinema’s most assured and daring debuts.

Film Info

  • Yugoslavia
  • 1965
  • 78 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.66:1
  • Serbo-Croatian

Available In

Collector's Set

Eclipse Series 18: Dušan Makavejev—Free Radical

Dušan Makavejev—Free Radical

DVD Box Set

3 Discs


Man Is Not a Bird
Milena Dravić
Janez Vrhovec
Jan Rudiniski
Eva Ras
Barbulović’s wife
Stole Arandelovic
Boris Dvornik
Roko Cirkovic
Roko the Hypnotist
Dušan Makavejev
Dušan Perkovic
Dušan Makavejev
Assistant director
Kokan Rakonjac
Aleksander Petkovic
Branko Perak
Ljubica Nesic
Art direction
Dragoljub Ivkov
Petar Bergamo


Eclipse Series 18: Dušan Makavejev— Free Radical
Eclipse Series 18: Dušan Makavejev— Free Radical
Man is Not a Bird: Flying Away The term “independent cinema” has lost its punch in recent years, from overuse and misapplication. One need only look to the films of Dušan Makavejev for a reminder of its true meaning. This Serb, who lived and wor…

By Michael Koresky


Dušan Makavejev

Writer, Director

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).