Analysing the Classics
The author was a bit taken by surprise by the book Studies of 9 Films because he expected Peterlić to make a much more ambitious project than a collection of essays. However, already the first text about Fritz Lang’s M disarmed his scepticism. Peterlić put the film in a wider historical context, referring to historical sources of the reception of Lang’s films in Croatia and the description of the characteristics of Lang’s opus in general. He particularly stressed Lang’s original use of sound. Nine films analysed in the book encompass the period from 1931 till 1968, central phase of film history. First five essays deal with films of the classical period (M, The Rule of the Game, Citizen Kane, Vertigo, Rio Bravo), while other four discuss modernist films (To the Last Breath, Last Year in Marienbad, Eight and a Half, 2001: Space Odyssey). Peterlić approaches each film in a specific manner, focussing on the segment he finds particularly interesting — whistling in M, the relationship of scientific and fantastic in the 2001 Odyssey, etc. He does not refrain from courageous speculations that he meticulously defends with the analysis of the film and its fragments — the essay about Vertigo avoids most of general assumptions linked with Hitchcock and offers an interpretation based on the analysis of point-of-view shots. Peterlić’s texts are not an obligating model, but should be a high example and an encouragement for a new interpretation of film works, opuses and stylistic periods.