ESSAYS IN NOSTALGIA
The true story of Milka, known as the »stewardess«
The article presents a fluid narrative
of the filmmaker’s reminiscences about the circumstances
under which the documentary The Return (1975) was
conceived and shot.
Motivated by the recent broadcast of the film on HRT (Hrvatska
radio televizija — Croatian Radio Television), renowned
documentary and feature filmmaker and film critic Petar
Krelja, recollects about the time when he discovered a
barracks near the railway station housing the social center
for runaway children, the red cross asylum, and the center
for social workers.
Worried and fascinated by this concentration
of human misery and by the unusual but indicative personal
fates of the people found there, and intent on presenting
some of it in documentary film form, he began to familiarize
himself with the multifaceted situation at the barracks
and by doing research on their inhabitants. Though the
whole series of documentary films (and two feature films)
were inspired through gained experiences, the first documentary
in the series was The Return (Povratak)
which focused on an 11 year old girl Milka, who was a regular
runaway either from her father’s home or from the children’s
home where she was occasionally placed.
She was known as
»the stewardess« in the reception center, because once
she succeeded in stowing away on a plane. Krelja’s article
is filled with illustrative anecdotes connected with his
research and with the shooting of the film The Return,
which also reveal his ongoing filmmaking dilemmas and reflections.