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Croatian film


Utilitarian Cinema and Phenomenon of Film Propaganda

In his discussion about utilitarian cinema (films with special purpose) the author, as opposed to Hrvoje Turković, talks about a completely separated »film« field characterized by non-artistic purposes. Utilitarian films motivate the engagement of different media and this is especially related to the television as a media that mostly presents many utilitarian films. Film experts such as historian Vjekoslav Majcen who was examining Croatian educational film (that is, the films of the Andrija Štampar’s School of Public Health) clearly perceived some special characteristics of these films. But we should not neglect the fact that the category of utilitarian film defined in this way arises from the perspective of an artistic film researcher so it is defined in contrast to the artistic film. Of course, a film can at the same time be a work of art and utilitarian as it is nicely shown on the example of films by Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov or Ken Loach (Land and Freedom).

The author explains fictional and other poetic and presentational possibilities of the utilitarian film and, starting from the spectator’s experience, divides the utilitarian film into educational film, commercial or propaganda film and music video clip. Within these types utilitarian films can be divided according to distinctions dominant for artistic film and other similar media so the video clip for the song Sledge Hammer (S.R. Johnson, 1986) performed by Peter Gabriel would most probably belong to experimental animated film, while the video clip for the song My Baby Just Cares For Me (P. Lord, 1987) sang by Nina Simone would represent animated utilitarian film. The author reminds about the historical tradition of perceiving different film media functions and laments that the newer »symptomatic« critique and theory hardly remember the work of its predecessor John Grierson and points out that conclusions about special tasks of documentary film do not have to be made according to documentary and utilitarian films’ »relation to reality«.

Nikica Gilić

Film types

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