Grad (The City). 1963. Yugoslavia. Directed by Marko Babac, Živojin Pavlović and Vojislav 'Kokan' Rakonjac. Written by Babac, Pavlović, Rakonjac. With Branka Jovanovic, Mihajlo Kostic-Pljaka, Ljiljana Sljapic. In Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles. 35mm. 80 min.
The City is an outstanding three-part omnibus film directed by a trio of the era’s leading directors: Vojislav "Kokan" Rakonjac, Marko Babac, and Živojin Pavlović. The first chapter, “Love,” sets up a nightmarish vision of the big city, with a volatile romantic relationship at its center; the second chapter, “Heart,” revolves around an unexpected encounter in which death looms just around the corner; and the third, “The Hoop,” focuses on a person on the fringes of society who plunges into an underworld from which he finds it increasingly difficult to escape. The three directors plumb urban landscapes to “forge their own Bauhaus,” chasing shadows down the hidden avenues of thought and the suspended moments of everyday life in a socialist society. Surreal, visceral, and ultimately liberating, combining an unchained camera with brilliant chiaroscuro and a haunting modernist soundscape (including masterful use of the pipe organ), The City is a unique treatment of the urban metropolis as both a reflection of the unconscious and the very real site of personal and social struggle. Unavailable for decades and the only film officially banned by the courts in Yugoslavia returns in a new digital preservation, ripe for rediscovery.