Artists' Television Access

Croatian Animations

Sunday, January 29, 2012, 8:00 pm, $6-$10

Historical Croatian Animations Coming to the Bay Area!
The Croatian Animation Cultural Exchange presents an evening of historical animations from Croatia (1957-1978) with works by Nikola Kostelac, Vatroslav Mimica,  Zlatko Grgic and more. The program is presented by Vanja Hraste who is a visiting program director of the film-club association of Croatia.

Premijera Opening Night Nikola Kostelac 1957. 9:48

Inspektor se vratio kući The Inspector Returned Home Vatroslav Mimica 1959. 11:34

or Samac Alone 1958. 12 Vatroslav Mimica

Surogat Ersatz Dušan Vukotić 1961. 9: 36

Don Kihot Don Quixote Vladimir Kristl 1961. 10: 42

Vau vau Wow – wow Boris Kolar 1964. 9: 13

Peti The Fifht One Pavao Štalter, Zlatko Grgić 1964. 2:42

Zid The Wall Ante Zaninović 1965. 3:32

Muha The Fly Aleksandar Marks, Vladimir Jutriša 1966. 8: 16

Idu dani Passing Days Nedeljko Dragić 1969. 10:07

Maska crvene smrti Mask of the Red Death Pavao Štalter, Branko Ranitović 1969. 9: 42

Mačka The Cat Zlatko Bourek 1971. 10: 10

Vrata Maxi Cat Zlatko Grgić 1972. 1

Tenis Maxi Cat Zlatko Grgić 1973. 1

Uže Maxi Cat Zlatko Grgić 1976. 1

Satiemania Satiemania Zdenko Gašparović 1978. 14:15

Škola hodanja Learning to Walk Borivoj Dovniković-Bordo, 1978. 08: 24


 Zagreb School of Animated film
In 1958, at a Cannes film festival, a film critic Georges Sadoul got his first chance to see animated films made by Zagreb Film company. He noticed that all these films had couple elements in common: the sketch like drawings, there were no words spoken, just the music and the sounds and that they all dealt with serious topics. Therefore Sadoul decided, on the spot,to create a term which will be from then known as Zagreb School of Animated film, and used whenever animated films from Zagreb were in question.

In the history of animated film, the Zagreb school played an outstandingly creative role. It brought together many artistic talents who all had a strong will for artistic experimenting. After couple attempts in classic, Disney like animation they soon lost interest and found no ispiration in it any more. Quite on the contrary, they’ve completely reversed its concept: they’ve created a space with only two dimensions (on a blank paper, which formed a background, flat two-dimensional characters found their place), instead of three-dimensional space which in Disney’s case had to create an illusion of the real space. Furthermore, the continuity of movement was reduced, broken and abstract ( in Disney’s case it was supposed to mimic a real-life movement). In their films, these authors challanged the laws of physics. They also made changes with the music they used – noises, sound effects and music were not just following movements any more, but had become a part of the film or even a counterpoint to scenes in the film. The Zagreb style of animation has determined stylized animation which relied on graphics or painting  which brought it closer to the art avantgarde. The Zagreb authors had brought existential and social questions into animated film, and dealt with themes such as old age, death, sickness, agression, all the things Disney carefully tried to avoid in his films.

 Zagreb School of Animated film represents a strong acquisition to the aesthetics of animated film. At the same time, in the school’s creative process, there wasn’t a single unique figurative style but the uniqness of material was based on the mentality of its author, and the authors were open to changes and influences from many different sides. This being said, although the School had one common style, at the same time there was a new, independent force within the School which, in the end, became the distinctive and recognizable style of the School.

 It is quite a unique phenomenon to witness a group of artists working together at one spot, contributing on different projects and at the same time maintaining and developing personal styles and work mode. Another interesting thing about the School is the highly developed sense of collectiveness among its memebers, which enabled the group of authors to work side by side, while exchanging ideas and collaborating, and despite their diametrical poetics, joining them in a common quest for new themes, new styles and new ways of production.

 Establishing a department of animated film in 1956. within Zagreb Film soon enabled the production of short author pieces, and gave a chance to the young, creative forces to show their potentials. As a result of this, their films soon became widly acclaimed at foreign festivals. Two years after the launch of the Department, a film Samac (Alone) by Vatroslav Mimica won a Grand Prix at the Venice festival. It was the first grand success of the School. The authors who came to work in this newly established department were Nikola Kostelac, Dušan Vukotić, Vatroslav Mimica, Vlado Kristl and Borivoj Dovniković-Bordo. However, the biggest success of the School was an Oscar for the best animated film, awarded to Dušan Vukotić’s film Surogat (Ersatz) in 1961. This was the first time a non-American film received an award in this category.

After Vukotić, Mimica and Kristl a new generation of authors came (from the mid 1960s till the end of 1970s) who had a more casual approach, namly while choosing their themes where they turned to playing around and implementing humor in their works. Ronald Holloway called them ‘punmen’, comparing animated films of Borivoj Dovniković, Pavle Štalter, Aleksandar Marks, Zlatko Bourek, Zlatko Grgić, Ante Zaninović, Milan Blažeković, Nedeljko Dragić, Dragutin Vunak and Boris Kolar with those of American silent comedies.

 In 1978. Zdenko Gašparović made a film Satiemania (Satiemania), the best film of Zagreb School according to many. This was the time of School’s third and last phase, with new authors such as Joško Marušić and Krešimir Zimonić.

However, during those times, the downfall of the School began as well. It was reflected in its creative and productive field. School’s financial problems started to interfere with the production of films, also problems of technical nature rose ( the lack of interest for implementing new technologies such as computers), as well as  those within production (the authors started to leave the Department). This all resulted in School’s closing during 1980s. Reestablishing of the School is no longer possible, but there wouldn’t be any purpose for it, as well.