Since 2006, UNESCO has declared the 27th of October as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. Croatia joined the initiative and cooperated with The Croatian Independent Cinemas Network (Croatian: Kino mreža) and Croatian State Archives to mark the day with a program from the 27th until the 31st of October. For that occasion, three digitally restored movies were screened in independent cinemas all over the country.
The importance of audiovisual documents
All moving images and sounds are part of audiovisual content. It is the most influential archive of the cultural and informative genre that documented civilisation in the 20th and 21st centuries. After traditional written records, they are considered to be the most valuable social and cultural heritage.
A huge part of the world’s audiovisual content was lost due to negligence, destruction, decay and lack of funds. It’s estimated that globally we have 10 to 15 years to digitalise the content to preserve it completely.
Archives represent humanity’s collective memory, telling of cultural, social and linguistic diversity. It is vital to preserve it and make it available for future generations.
World Audiovisual Heritage Day in Croatia
Digitally restored old Croatian movies were available to the public for free in independent cinemas all over the country. Foundation Kultura Nova and Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) funded the program.
The most famous movie, ‘Tko pjeva zlo ne misli’ (English: One Song a Day Takes Mischief Away), is a comedy directed by Krešo Golik in 1970. The film is based on the novel ‘From the diary of little Perica (Croatian: ‘Iz dnevnika malog Perice) by Vjekoslav Majer.
The plot follows the Šafranek family from Zagreb in the 1930s. Ana Šafranek meets Mr Fulir who begins courting her, aware of unhappiness with her marriage with Franjo. Franjo sees what is Fulir’s plan and decides to meet him with Ana’s sister Mina.
The film is the most viewed in Croatian history, called a romantic comedy with singing. According to the Society of Croatian film critics, the film was declared the best Croatian film of all time. Director Krešo Golik was awarded the Bronze Arena at the Pula Film Festival in 1971, actors launched successful careers whilst songs from the film became popular nationwide.
‘Ciguli Miguli’ was originally filmed in 1952 and is the most controversial film in the history of Croatian cinematography. The communist party believed the film insulted the party and politicians and prohibited its public screening until 1977.
Directed by Branko Marjanović, the plot follows the character of Ivan Ivanović, a functionary of the Communist party arriving at the little town to replace a culture clerk. Ivan tries to reform the town’s cultural life, following practices of the time, by cancelling five musical associations and uniting them into one. He removed a statue of the famous composer Ciguli Miguli from the town’s square as he didn’t fit into the political frame of the period. Citizens started to disagree with his reforms and decided to rebel against them actively.
The third movie in the program is ‘Vuk Samotnjak’ (English: Lone Wolf) by Obrad Gluščević. The film follows Rango, a boy from a village in Lika, finding an injured German Shepherd. He helps him and calls him Hund, following the tag hanging around his neck that says ‘Militär Hund’ (English: military dog). Hund is afraid of people and decides to stay in the forest. Later a herd of sheep with Ranko are attacked by a lone wolf. People of the village believe it was Hund, as he looked similar to the wolf, but Ranko manages to save him.
The film won the Silver Arena and Jelen awards at the Pula Film Festival in 1972 and was awarded at international festivals. It is considered to be the best Croatian children’s film ever made.
Additionally, the program included short documentary films by one of the most prominent directors of Croatian cinematography, Krsto Papić.
His documentary films’ Halo, München’ (English: Hello, Munich), ‘Kad te moja čakija ubode’ (English: When My Knife Strikes You), ‘Nek se čuje i naš glas’ (English: Let Our Voice be Heard Too) and ‘Mala seoska priredba’ (English: A Little Village Performance) were available to the public during the days dedicated to the 2021 World Audiovisual Heritage Day.