Lordan Zafranović

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Lordan Zafranović
Born (1944-02-11) 11 February 1944 (age 71)
Maslinica, Šolta, Yugoslavia (now Republic of Croatia)
Years active 1961[1]–present
Awards Cannes Palme d'Or
Nominated 1979 Occupation in 26 Pictures
Golden Arena for Best Director
1981 The Fall of Italy
1986 Evening Bells

Lordan Zafranović (born 11 February 1944) is a Croatian film director, and a major figure of the Yugoslav Black Wave, as well as a former communist politician.

First films[edit]

After receiving a degree in literature and visual arts at the University of Split, Zafranović enrolled at the famous FAMU in Prague where he studied film directing and where he eventually graduated in 1981.[1] He is therefore considered part of the so-called Prague School, a group of acclaimed Yugoslav directors of the 1960s/70s who all studied there (the others being Emir Kusturica, Goran Paskaljević and Rajko Grlić).

His first films made in the early 1960s were mostly experimental shorts with grotesque and absurdist influences.[1] His first notable efforts and films that marked the beginning of his regular feature filmmaking were Sunday (1969) and Passion According to Matthew (1975), the latter earning him the critics' award at the Pula Film Festival.


His most important work, the first part of his WWII trilogy, Occupation in 26 Pictures (1978) followed. This drama following a story of three young men's friendship set in World War II Dubrovnik went on to win the Big Golden Arena for Best Picture at Pula Film Festival and was a huge box office hit in Yugoslavia. The other two parts of his WWII trilogy were The Fall of Italy (1981) and Evening Bells (1986).

These movies caused controversy, with their mix of erotica and politics, influenced by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luchino Visconti or Bernardo Bertolucci, and particularly because of their depiction of Croats during the World War II. After 1990 this caused Zafranović to claim that he is a political dissident in the post-Yugoslav Croatia.

Zafranović has been labelled a "pornographer", "one of the great masters of modernism" (Dina Iordanova), "a poseur who bombastically exploits sex and violence", "one of the great masters of Yugoslav film", and "a Mediterranean classic whose films can be compared with those by Angelopoulos, Bertolucci or Liliana Cavani" (Ranko Munitić)[2] Nonetheless his career moved from "the Communist Party's favorite author and an intense promoter of the regime" to a time when "his works have been censored and shut away in bunkers".[2]

In the mid-1980s he turned to more intimate love themes, with films such as An Angel's Bite (1984) and Aloa: Festivity of the Whores (1988), notable for their erotics. He also directed numerous TV productions for Radio Television Belgrade and Radio Television Zagreb.


Zafranović was elected to the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia in 1989.[3]

During the political turmoil in the early 1990s he moved to Prague and slowly sunk into obscurity. During this period he made a documentary feature, The Decline of the Century: Testament L.Z. (1994), produced by the Croatian State Television but never broadcast, and later rarely screened. In the Czech Republic he made a feature film Revenge (1995). In the 2000s, he returned to Croatia, but several of his films, which received state fund support, are still in pre-production.



  1. ^ a b c Zafranović Lordan at Film Programmes
  2. ^ a b All remarks quoted by Jurica Pavičić, Modern classic or political pornographer? (see Filmskiprogrami).
  3. ^ Davorka Budimir: Hrvatska politička elita na početku demokratske tranzicije, Anali 2010., p. 81

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