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Partisan film

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Title: Partisan film  
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Subject: Cinema of Yugoslavia, Bata Živojinović, Hannjo Hasse, Battle of Neretva (film), Emir Kusturica
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Partisan film

Walter Defends Sarajevo, a 1972 partisan film, has a cult status in the countries of former Yugoslavia,[1][2] and was seen by 300 million Chinese viewers in the year of its release alone.[1]

Partisan film (Serbo-Croatian: Partizanski film) is the name for a sub-genre of war films, made in FPR/SFR Yugoslavia during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. In the broadest sense, main characteristics of partisan films are that they are set in Yugoslavia during World War II and have partisans as main protagonists, while antagonists are Axis forces and their collaborators.


  • Definition and scope 1
  • Notable films 2
  • Notable television series 3
  • References 4
  • Sources 5

Definition and scope

There are disagreements, even among the film critics, about the exact definition of the genre.[3] Partisan films are often equated solely with the populist, entertainment-oriented branch of the genre, characterized by epic scope, ensemble casts, expensive production, and emotionally intense scenes, all introduced into Yugoslav war films by Veljko Bulajić's Kozara (1962).[4][5] The other branch – much less interesting to the Communist establishment – was represented by modernist films, ranging from the poetic naturalism of the Yugoslav Black Wave to experimental stream-of-consciousness films.[5]

In his analysis of Fadil Hadžić's The Raid on Drvar (1963), Croatian film critic Jurica Pavičić identifies seven key characteristics of what he calls "super-Partisan films":[6]

  • Focus on crucial, well-known, "textbook" examples of Partisan struggle, such as large battles and operations, which are then given an officially sanctioned interpretation.
  • Absence of authentic, high-profile figures of Partisan struggle, with the exception of Josip Broz Tito. In Pavičić's view, the rationale for this was to avoid threatening the Tito's cult of personality.
  • Mosaic structure in which sometimes dozens of different characters take part, and their fate is followed through the film. These characters represent different classes or walks of life (intellectuals, peasants), or different ethnicities.
  • Mixing of the comic with the tragic.
  • The presence of foreign (non-Yugoslav) characters as arbiters. Their role is to witness and verify the martyrdom and heroism of Yugoslav peoples as Partisan films depict them, sending a symbolical message ("There it is, the world acknowledges us as we are").
  • The characteristic treatment of the Germans: although they are depicted as villains, who tend to be merciless even towards their own soldiers, they are also shown to be superior in power and discipline, and are depicted as efficient, sophisticated, even glamorous opponents.
  • Deus ex machina endings, in which the Partisans break out of the seemingly hopeless situations.

Pavičić's analysis was criticized for not being universally applicable to Partisan films, and a number of notable exceptions to the above formula were provided.[7]

Notable films

Notable television series


  1. ^ a b Cabric, Nemanja (10 August 2012). "'"Documentary Tells Story of the 'Walter Myth. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  2. ^ Premec, Tina (8 February 2011). "Kultni film ‘Valter brani Sarajevo’ dobiva remake u seriji od 30 nastavaka".  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ "Kozara".  
  5. ^ a b Šakić, Tomislav (2010). "Opsada, Branko Marjanović, 1956.". (in Croatian). Subversive Film Festival. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  6. ^ Pavičić 2003, p. 13–14
  7. ^ Jovanović 2011, p. 51–54


  • Jugoslavenski špageti-vesterni: propaganda i nostalgija (Croatian)
  • Partizanski film je naša kulturna baština (Serbian)
  • Partizanski film i strip...ili priča o sađenju limuna u Sibiru (Croatian)
  • Jovanović, Nebojša (2011). "Fadil Hadžić u optici totalitarne paradigme". Hrvatski filmski ljetopis (in Croatian) (65–66): 47–59. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
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