Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Covek nije tica / A Man Is Not a Bird

Covek nije tica. Ljubavni film

Ihminen ei ole lintu / Människan är ingen fågel. YU 1965. PC: Avala Film. D+SC: Dusan Makavejev. DP: Aleksandar Petkovic. AD: Draguljob Ivkov; Milenko Jeremic. Make-up: Branko Catovic. M: Petar Bergamo. ED: Ljubica Nesic. Loc: Bor. Cast: Milena Dravic (Rajka), Janez Vrhovec (Jan Rudinski), Eva Ras (Barbool's wife), Stole Arandjelovic (Barbulovic, "Barbool"), Boris Dvornik (Vozac Kamiona). 81 min, print viewed 78 min. A Jugoslovenska Kinoteka print (ok) with English subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Dusan Makavejev), 20 April 2010

Dusan Makavejev's debut feature film is an assured and original piece of cinema.

Top engineer Jan comes to the copper mining town of Bor to modernize its production methods. He stays at a family and has an affair with the beautiful blonde daughter Rajka, who is a hairdresser. Rajka is the active partner in the affair.

There is parallel story about the model worker Barbool who is an alcoholic wife-beater and adulterer off duty.

Rajka is also courted by the young, womanizing truck driver Boris.

The film is bookended between two concerts. In the beginning there is the buxom bar singer Fatima killed by a drunken customer's knife. Towards the end there is a symphony orchestra playing the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. But after the symphony orchestra we see a travelling circus with acrobats, snake-eaters, knife throwers and trapeze artists.

The film starts with footage about hypnosis and towards the end we are told the word hypnosis comes from the Greek word hipnos meaning dream. Seduction, propaganda, music... all related to hypnosis.

The title of the film comes from the hypnotist's performance where he can make people believe they are birds although they cannot fly. But everybody dreams of flying.

In this film Makavejev has a firm grip on social reality (there is even a documentary aspect to the film) while paying attention to dreams.

Makavejev lets his actors create sympathetic and authentic characters. The film seems loose, relaxed and disconnected but gradually the various strands start to make sense as parts of an engaging whole.

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