22 December 1926|
Sarajevo, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
|Died||11 July 1992
Sarajevo, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Occupation||Film director, writer|
|Notable work||Valter brani Sarajevo|
His gift for precise storytelling was visible in his early documentaries and would become a staple of his feature films later on. Starting with his directorial debut, the segment Otac (Father) of the anthology film Vrtlog (Vortex, 1964), all his feature films are action films set in World War II. Their storytelling owes a lot to comic books and American action films, especially westerns, with an imaginative combination of action and emotions, personal drama and epic tragedy, idealised heroism and psychological trials, sometimes with a dose of humor. Because of the style of his films, Krvavac was sometimes compared to Howard Hawks.
Life and cinematic career
As a teenager in Sarajevo, Krvavac assisted the Partisan resistance on the outskirts of the city that like the rest of Bosnia had since April 1941 been occupied by the newly created Nazi German puppet entity Independent State of Croatia — the youngster reportedly made treks out of the city on four separate occasions in order to take part in actions organized by local resistance leader Valter Perić.
As the World War II ended and Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia got established, Krvavac moved to Belgrade for college (viša škola) studies, enrolling in a diplomacy and journalism program. Upon returning to Sarajevo, on suggestion from his friend Eli Finci, Krvavac decided to pursue film direction despite possessing no formal training.
During early 1950s he got jailed by Yugoslav authorities on Goli otok, a political prison for Soviet-leaning Yugoslav communists following the Tito–Stalin Split and the subsequent Informbiro period.
Hajrudin Krvavac was one of the leading film directors of the Partisan Film genre during the 1960s and 1970s. Krvavac is most well known for his trilogy of Partisan Films, which exemplified the communist government’s idea of “brotherhood and unity” (jedinstvo i bratsvo). The trilogy depicted the Yugoslav Partisan struggle against the Nazi fascist forces during Second World War. The three films of Krvavac’s trilogy consist of: Diverzanti (The Demolition Squad), 1967; Most (The Bridge), 1969; and his masterpiece, Walter Brani Sarajevo (Walter Defends Sarajevo), 1972.:109
However, Krvavac was most well known for incorporating American Western film elements into his Partisan films. For example, Krvavac’s Most, has been compared to Western classics like The Dirty Dozen and The Bridge on the River Kwai.:145 Krvavac’s trilogy was designed to both “relax and influence the mind,” of the audience as many American movies during the same time period aspired to do.:145 Moreover, many film analysts have compared the character of Walter, from Walter Brani Sarajevo to that of James Bond, where in scenes Walter is jumping from train to train and eluding Nazi capture.:112 Most importantly, Krvavac’s films were created to be appropriate for audiences of all ages, in order to display the Partisan unity to all of Yugoslavia.:145 This universality that Krvavac used was especially evident when he won the “Audience’s Award” at the 1967 Pula film festival for his film, Diverzanti.:146
Hajrudin Krvavac was influential in creating the unique subgenre of Partisan Film, “crveni vestern” (Red Western). The “Red Western” genre contained many great masterpieces, such as Bitka na Neretvi, by Veljko Bulajić, which was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1969. Hajrudin Krvavac’s work influenced many other Yugoslav directors at the time, and together they helped create some of the greatest works of cinema to emerge from the former Yugoslav states.
- Vrtlog (1964)
- Diverzanti (1967)
- Most (1969)
- Valter brani Sarajevo (1972)
- Partizanska eskadrila (1979)
Krvavac died in July 1992 during the early months of the Siege of Sarajevo. He succumbed to a heart condition during the Siege of Sarajevo. However, Krvavac lived long enough to see the people of Sarajevo in 1992 chant, “We Are Walter!” in protest of the conflict. In Walter Brani Sarajevo, the German officer who is trying to capture Walter, concludes that Walter is not just one individual, but a united front which was the whole city of Sarajevo.:125
- Yugoslavian Film Encyclopedia, Yugoslavian Lexicographic Institute "Miroslav Krleža", 1986–1990
- Kusturica, Emir (3 July 2015). "Дневник Емира Кустурица: Мало је у том граду било господе, а Шиба је био велики господин." (in Serbian). Sputnik News. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- Kožul, Dejan (15 April 2015). "Razgovor s Ljubišom Samardžićem: Pustite me da sanjam i da volim ljude" (in Serbian). Lupiga.com. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- Dina Iordanova, The Cinema of the Balkans, (London: Wallflower Press, 2006).
- Radina Vučetić, “Kauboji u Partizanskoj Uniformi: Američki versterni i partizanski versterni u Jugoslaviji šezdestih godina 20. veka,” Tokovi Istorije, Fevurari 2010.
- Nevana Daković, “Cinema Komunisto i Post-Komunisto: Filmski tekst pamćenja, sećanja, i nostalgije,” Univerzitet umetnosti u Beograd, pg. 15.