Želimir Žilnik: Europe in Motion

The films by renowned Serbian director Želimir Žilnik are characterized by criticism and commentary on contemporary events with their form placed on the border of fiction and documentary. We are presenting a selection of his recent works that capture the latest changes in Central and Eastern Europe, explore its identity and values, with special focus on issues of social policies and migration.

Želimir Žilnik introduced himself to the general film public in the late 1960s when he was making his first films in line with the Yugoslav Black Wave movement and when he also received the Golden Bear at Berlinale for his movie Early Works. Due to his emigration from Yugoslavia and ensuing political transformations in Europe, topics in which he was interested as filmmaker were also undergoing many changes. Starting with issues linked to censorship and totalitarian regime, moving on to experimenting with the docu-fiction genre in TV formats, he arrived at the onset of the new millennium to the problems existing in the remnants of the former Soviet Union and ex-Yugoslavia countries. In his personally tainted work Pirika on Film, Žilnik portrays the impacts of Europe’s new geopolitical arrangement on individuals. The protagonist of this film is Pirika, a woman with whom the director renewed contacts after 44 years since she had starred in his debut movie Early Works.

In recent years, Žilnik has turned his attention to issues of immigration. In 2015, right at the start of the largest migration wave in Europe, he visited a refugee camp in order to chronicle immediate reactions of freshly arrived immigrants and the difficulties they had to face in his film Logbook_Serbistan. In his latest movie, The Most Beautiful Country in the World, he deals with deeper issues of refugee integration in a story of an Afghan boy who is trying to settle in Vienna.

Watch a visually expressive testimony by this extraordinary Serbian director who likes to indulge in critical reflections on contemporary European society.

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