Dušan Makavejev

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Dušan Makavejev
Dusan Makavejev, TVNS 1989 (cropped 02).jpg
Dušan Makavejev in 1989
Born(1932-10-13)13 October 1932
Died25 January 2019(2019-01-25) (aged 86)
Belgrade, Serbia
EducationUniversity of Belgrade
Alma materFaculty of Dramatic Arts, University of Arts in Belgrade
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter
Years active1965–1996
Bojana Marijan
(m. 1964)
Parent(s)Sergije Makavejev
Jelka Bojkić

Dušan Makavejev (Serbian Cyrillic: Душан Макавејев, pronounced [dǔʃan makaʋějeʋ]; 13 October 1932 – 25 January 2019)[1] was a Serbian film director and screenwriter, famous for his groundbreaking films of Yugoslav cinema in the late 1960s and early 1970s—many of which belong to the Black Wave. Makavejev's most internationally successful film was the 1971 political satire W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, which he both directed and wrote.


Makavejev's first three feature films, Man Is Not a Bird (1965, starring actress and icon of the "Black Wave" period in film, Milena Dravić), Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (1967, starring actress and icon of the "Black Wave"[2] period in film, Eva Ras) and Innocence Unprotected (1968), all won him international acclaim. The last-mentioned won the Silver Bear Extraordinary Prize of the Jury at the 18th Berlin International Film Festival.[3] In 1970 he was a member of the jury at the 20th Berlin International Film Festival.[4] In 1991 he was a member of the jury at the 17th Moscow International Film Festival.[5]

His 1971 movie W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (starring Milena Dravić, Jagoda Kaloper, and Ivica Vidović) was banned in Yugoslavia due to its sexual and political content. He described authoritarian figures in the film as people who are not in control of themselves striving to control others.[6] The political scandal surrounding Makavejev's film was symptomatic of an increasingly oppressive political climate in Yugoslavia that effectively ended the director's domestic career and resulted in his leaving Yugoslavia to live and work abroad in Europe and North America. Makavejev's next film, Sweet Movie (1974), was the first feature work that the director produced entirely outside of Yugoslavia (the film was made in Canada).[7] Sweet Movie's explicit depiction of sex together with its bold treatment of the more taboo dimensions of sexuality reduced the size of the film's audience (i.e. it was largely confined to the art house context) and also resulted in the film's being censored in several countries.

After a seven-year hiatus in feature film production, Makavejev released the comparatively more conventional black comedy entitled Montenegro (1981). The director's next feature film, The Coca-Cola Kid (1985), which was based on short stories by Frank Moorhouse and featured performances by Eric Roberts and Greta Scacchi, is arguably his most accessible picture.

Makavejev appears as one of the narrators in the 2007 Serbian documentary film Zabranjeni bez zabrane (Banned without being banned), which gives profound insight into the history and the nature of Yugoslav film censorship through its investigation of the country's distinctive political-cultural mechanisms for unofficially banning politically controversial films. The film contains original interviews with key filmmakers from the communist era.[8]

He published two books of selected articles: Poljubac za drugaricu parolu (1960) and 24 sličice u sekundi (1965).[9]


In 1993 Makavejev wrote and appeared in a half hour televised Opinions lecture in Britain, produced by Open Media for Channel 4 and subsequently published in The Times. Makavejev speaks of himself as a citizen of the world but "of the leftovers of Yugoslavia too". He cites Jacques Tourneur's Hollywood horror classic Cat People as one of the rare films in the history of the cinema that mention Serbs, "a people from an obscure region who were haunted by evil; when hurt they turn into ferocious cats, like panthers, and killed those whom they thought to be the source of hurt of rejection". He comments on the division of Bosnia on ethnic lines:

"Creators of nationalist myths, both Serbs and Croats, came from the same mountainous region that was probably the source of this Hollywood story. Before the armed conflict, these people were whipping up nationalist fever and indoctrination until conflict became inevitable and both nations were trapped in a bloody embrace...How long will it take for an ethnically "clean" state for every single person who miraculously stays alive? A state for each family, a state for the father in case he is a Croat, a state for the mother in case she is a Muslim, a state for the daughter in case she is a Yugoslav, a state for the son in case he is a Serb, a specific flag for the dog, a currency for the cat."[10]


Feature films

Year Film Director Writer Awards / Notes
1965 Man is Not a Bird Yes Yes
1967 Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator Yes Yes
1968 Innocence Unprotected Yes Yes Silver Berlin Bear and FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival
1971 W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism Yes Yes Gold Hugo at Chicago International Film Festival
1974 Sweet Movie Yes Yes
1981 Montenegro Yes No Audience Award and Mostra Special Award at São Paulo International Film Festival, Palme d'Or nominee
1985 Coca-Cola Kid Yes No Palme d'Or nominee
1988 Manifesto Yes Yes
1992 Gorilla Bathes at Noon Yes Yes
1993 Hole in the Soul Yes Yes
1996 Danish Girls Show Everything Yes Yes Co-author, anthology film

Short films

  • Jatgan mala (1953)
  • Pečat (1955)
  • Antonijevo razbijeno ogledalo (1957)
  • Spomenicima ne treba verovati (1958)
  • Osmjeh '61 (1961)
  • Eci peci pec (1961)
  • Parada (1962)
  • Nova domaća životinja (1964)


  1. ^ Umro Dušan Makavejev: Odlazak jednog od najvećih srpskih reditelja.www.blic.rs (in Serbian)
  2. ^ "Vesti dana - Kurir dnevne novine". Arhiva.kurir-info.rs. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Berlinale 1968: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  4. ^ "Berlinale 1970: Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  5. ^ "17th Moscow International Film Festival (1991)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  6. ^ Jacobsen, Kurt (2004). "An Interview with Dusan Makavejev" in Maverick Voices: Conversations with political and Cultural Rebels. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0742533950.
  7. ^ Morimer, Lorejn (2011). Teror i radost: filmovi Dušana Makavejeva. Belgrade: Clio.
  8. ^ "Zabranjeni bez zabrane". Retrieved 22 March 2020 – via www.imdb.com.
  9. ^ Đerić, Zoran (2009). Poetika srpskog filma. Banja Luka: Besjeda. p. 374.
  10. ^ Dusan Makavejev, Opinions: Bloody Bosnia, produced by Open Media, transmitted on Channel 4 on 8 August 1993, printed in The Times on 9 August 1993 and quoted in Terror and Joy: The Films of Dusan Makavejev, Lorraine Mortimer, University of Minnesota, 2009, p.258


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