Dusan Makavejev

Active - 1953 - 1996  |   Born - Oct 13, 1932   |   Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental, Comedy, Culture & Society, Drama

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Dusan Makavejev, the most prominent director in new Yugoslav cinema is internationally recognized for his passionate, daring films that blend fiction with reality, and drama with humor. Many of these films contain experimental elements and were considered controversial for their eroticism and sharp criticism of Eastern European politics. Makavejev began making short films during the '50s just after he studied psychology at Belgrade University; he then went on to become active in several film societies and festivals while studying direction at the Academy for Radio, Television, and Film. He continued making shorts and documentaries for both Zagreb and Avala studios until the early '60s. His interest in documentaries can still be see in his later fictional features. Makavejev's first three features -- Man Is Not a Bird (1966), Love Affair (1967), and Innocence Unprotected (1968) -- won him international acclaim. In 1971, his fictionalized chronicle of psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, WR: Mysteries of the Organism, was immediately banned in Yugoslavia for its political-sexual content. The film also resulted in Makavejev's exile until the late '80s. This did not stop him from making films. In 1974, he made Sweet Movie in Canada. The film was so violent and sexually explicit that it was considered pornographic in many countries and banned. Makavejev's only real commercial success was his 1981 film Montenegro. In 1988, he finally returned home, where he made Manifesto, a political farce that has not been widely seen on the international market.

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