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Ratko Djurovic
MONTENEGRIN CINEMATOGRAPHY
(fragment from the book "CRNA GORA", 1981.)
note: Book was written in the period of old Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia and some of the terms may not be applicible to present Montenegro (which is independent country now)





The first film document relating to Montenegro originated just one уеаr after the birth of moving pictures themselves.

In October 1896 cameraman Henri Le Lieure filmed the arrival, in Rome, of Prince Nikola I and his entourage on the occasion of his daughter's wedding to the heir to the Italian throne. That story went into the film made by the Lumiere brothers: "Matrimonio dei principi di Napoli a Rome" which was shown in Rome late in Јаnuаrу and early in February 1897. Foreigners made the first film in Montenegro about Montenegro. At the same time the first film projections were held in Montenegro late in the summer of 1902.

For the occasion of the proclamation of Montenegro a kingdom, in 1910, there were film-makers in Cetinje from Rome, Vienna, Budapest and Split. Besides the official event, they also filmed scenes throughout Montenegro. All of this footage was shown in Cetinje, for the most part in the news reels of Pathe and Gaumont.

During the Balkan War of 1912, several foreign film studios captured battles scenes and the victories of the Montenegrin army on film, especialy the siege and fall of Skadar. On the basis of films shot at that time, various European film companies made news reels about the Turko-Montenegrin War.

Such was also the case during World War I. At that time foreign film companies filmed the war events in Montenegro while the Pathe brothers continued filming even after the capitulation of Montenegro. Тћеу made a series of films about King Nikola's exile in France and about other emigrants.

During the Austro-Hungarian occupation, from early 1916 to late 1918, several Viennese film producers shot in Montenegro; besides war chronicles, they also made other types of documentary films, generally about the beauty of Montenegro, its sights and its people.

In the region of Montenegro which until 1918 was under Austro-Hungarian occupation, various travelling cinemas showed films, frequently also visiting the regions of Montenegro whic were free at that time.

The first regular cinema in Montenegro was opened in Cetinje in 1908. Ву 1914 cinemas had been opened in Kotor and Nikšić. The repertoire of these cmemas was composed of film rеviews, documentaries and feature films made by the current European film industry.

***

The first full-length feature film from Montenegrin life Non c'e resurrezione senza morte (Ther Is No Resurrection Without Death) was produced by Italian cinematographers, by an Italian crew in April of 1922. The author of the script and the man who inspired the making of this film was Vladimir Đ. Popović who became the first Montenegrin script writer. With World War I, there appeared the first Montenegrin film actor - Mihailo I. Vavić. Between the two world wars many foreign film-makers used th Montenegrin setting for their films.

In 1928, Delfa-Film from Berlin made a full-length feature film in Montenegro about blood feuds: Das Gesetz der schwarzen Berge (Law of the Black Hills). Matko M. Dragović participated in the making of this motion picture and after schooling in Berlin, he was one of the first Montenegrins to acquire the title of film director.

Some domestic, and mostly foreign producers, generally from Germany, made several film chronicles in Montenegro about actual events and some cultural tourist films about different Моntenegrin national customs ог the natural beauty of the country. One of the most impressive among them was a documentary about Durmitor shot in 1930, sponsored by a Zagreb travellers club. In mid 1932, a German- Yugoslav co-production full- length feature film was shot in Montenegro and it was called Das Leid der Schwarzen Berge (The Phantom of Durmitor).

Ву 1940, on the territory of what is today Montenegro there were nine private cinema houses.

In Montenegrin magazines and newpapers, items were already beginning to appear about the showing of films, reports about shooting and a few translated (or original) articles about the theory and practice of film-making.

During the Fascist occupation of Montenegro, Italian film-makers shot a series of events and many regions and places. In August 1944, two Soviet cinematographers landed by parachute in liberated Kolašin. With their cameras they recorded a large number of events in Montenegro up to the Liberation in Јаnuarу 1945.

***

After World War II, the first films on a Montenegrin subject were made by film companies from the other Yugoslav socialist republics. The first such film was a documentary about Njegoš made in 1947, the script for which was written by the well-known author Mihailo Lalić. It is one of seven short films about Njegoš made by Yugoslav and foreign film makers.

From 1945 to 1947 when the Film Distributors Enterprise was formed, special committees, departments and boards organised a network of cinema houses and carried out the distribution of films. Finally, in March 1949, the Lovćen-Film Enterprise was established in Cetinje for film release, later with its own facilities for technology and distribution.

In Мау of 1951, this enterprise released its first film, a documentary about the Physical Culture Congress. In October 1955, it made the first full-length feature film of professional Montenegrin cinematography about the im poster tsar Šćepan the Small, directed by Velimir Stojanović.

From its first feature film in 1951 up to 1965, when the enterprise was dissolved, Lovćen-Film developed a significant activity, first in the field of documentaries and, somewhat later, in that of full-length feature films. Some of these films have received awards at Yugoslav and international film festivals, and represent noticeable achievements in Yugoslav cinematography. First among these are some of the works of film director V. Stojanović. Njegoš (Njegoš), 1951; Mrtvi grad (Dead City), 1952; Utkani tokovi (Woven Streams), 1954; the trilogy Za život (For Life), 1953; the first Yugoslav experimental film; then come the films of V. Bulajić Kamen i more (The Rock and the Sea), 1953; B. Bastać Mali voz (Little Train), 1959; Selo Tijanje (Tijanje Village), 1960; Žedna česma (Thirsty Fountain), 1962; Z. Ve limirović Zublja grahovačka (The Torch of Grahovac), 1958; and of others.

Noted success was achieved by Montenegrin productions of full-length feature films by: V. Stojanović Zle pare (Evil Моnеу), 1956; Z. Velimirović Dan četrnaesti (The 14th Day), 1960; M. Đukanovć Ne diraj u sreću (Let Hap piness Alone), 1961, and others.

Of coproduction films with foreign partners, those that stand out are Kapo by Dj. Pontekorva, 1960; and Ne ubij (Thou Shalt Not Kill), 1961 by K. Otan-Lare.

During its 16 years existence Lovćen-Film produced 119 documentary and short-length feature films and 15 full-length feature films in all genres.

From 1966 when it was founded, up to 1979 when it discontinued work, the Titograd Film Studio produced 42 short-length feature and documentary films, while it produced full-length films only in Yugoslav and foreign co-production. Among the significant films made with Yugoslav partners are: Derviš i smrt (The Dervish and Death), 1974 by Z. Velimirović, and Beštije (The Beast), 1978 by Ž. Nikolić, and with Soviet partners: Prove reno, min njet (Checked, No Mines), 1965 by I. Lisjenka and Z. Velimirović, and Svadba (The Wedding), 1974 by R. Šaranović.

***

Montenegrin film professionals have been able to train themselves in institutions of higher educations in order to became directors, dramatists, script writers, camera men, film editors, actors and organisors. In the meanwhile, the quality of film theory and criticism has advanced. Among post-War film-makers who have made a name for themselves in the field by their esthetic and creative contributions are Yugoslav cinematographers from Montenegro, the directors: V. Stojanović (1921-1959), B. Bastać, V. Bulajić, Z. Velimirović, D. Vukotić, V. Gilić, P. Golubović, M. Đuranović, H. Jovićević, Ž. Nikolić, R. Šaranović, K. Skanata, and others, the script writers: S. Bulajić, M. Kovač, B. Pekić, B. Šćepanović and others, also several cameramen and a large number of actors.

In 1976 Montenegro had 31 cinemas, with 10,759 seats and 12,447 showings of Yugoslav and foreign films, and 3,710 film-goers per thousand residents.