Director's portrait: Petar Krelja
Illusion of Reality: The Seasons (Godišnja doba) by Petar Krelja as a Border Film
One of the most famous
Croatian film documentarists, Petar Krelja, is today well-known
as a director of documentary films. However, some of his
feature films are extremely interesting and valuable as
well. His omnibus film Godišnja doba (The Seasons,
1979) clearly corresponds with his documentary films by
its style and theme. It describes lives of persons at the
social margin, that is, girls in the social care system
for abandoned children. In addition to this, he uses certain
techniques typical of the documentary style, such as hidden
camera (or the imitation of this method).
such as Godišnja doba, are a border form between
short and feature-length films. However, they are certainly
closer to feature-length films because the protagonists
of the three segments appear in the order of their age.
In compliance with this, the segments, named after the
protagonists, Željka, Višnja and Branka, (played by Tatjana
Ivko, Rajka Rusan and Marina Nemet), demonstrate an ever
higher degree of editing and feature film complexity, which
is appropriate for the maturity of themes.
Željka yearns for love and her adoptive parents Renata and
Vlado can not give her this (they are played by Sanda Langerholz
and Boris Buzančić). Višnja experiences her first love with
a delinquent Mato (Slavko Štimac) and, at the end of the film,
Branka is faced with social problems of adults (she is too
old to be in the social care system) so she has to look for
a room to rent on a pretty cruel market and take a job she
is overqualified for. What is probably even more important,
Branka is faced with sexual harassment at work. The head of
the human resources department, Ferenčak (Vanja Drach), who
generously found her the job, offers her the career of his
mistress. The film gives a complex impression of being somewhere
between the feature and the documentary film.
It also demonstrates
the possibility of an omnibus film to represent an integral
structure. It is important to mention that Godišnja doba are
an excellent argument in favour of the concept of director
Krelja as the author of the film. This is another argument
in favour of perceiving this film as modernist.
Krelja makes very similar (or at least easily comparable)
documentary and feature films. Author’s poetics is considered
to be a prototype characteristic of film modernism today.
Of course, despite originally different characteristics
(it was considered to be a trait of best classical Hollywood