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Interview: Fadil Hadžić — Films for the audience

Fadil Hadžic is the most prolific Croatian director of feature films; from 1961 when he directed his first film, a war thriller The Alphabet of Fear up to 2003 and the comedy Doktor ludosti (The Doctor of Craziness), Hadžic made 15 feature films, 12 of which in his most productive period up to 1972. Along with making films, Hadžic also wrote 57 comedies, two novels and a number of books of various genres. He was a successful editor of several newspapers and magazines, he started the making of Croatian animated film, he founded several theatres and took part in founding Pula Film Festival, one of the most important cultural events in ex-Yugoslavia. Film critics often regarded him as someone to whom directing films was not the most important thing he did, and he has been underestimated for years. The critics found it hard to understand his versatile work, leaving his films, together with the films of directors of his generation such as Branko Bauer, Nikola Tanhofer, Obrad Glušcevic or Krešo Golik, in the shadow of modernist films from the late sixties. In the meantime, his colleagues Bauer and Golik have been re-evaluated, but Hadžic has been a forgotten author until recently. Today, when we look from a distance, it is obvious that it is an artist who did not make films ’by the way’. It’s a director who made at least seven very successful films (The Alphabet of Fear, Official Position, The Reverse of the Medal, The Protest, Three Hours for Love, The Deer Hunt, The Journalist) which testify that Hadžic is a relevant director on both thematic and stylistic levels, that he has a definite talent for story telling, working with actors (numerous actors won prizes only for his films), the imagery of a film and unobtrusive criticism of society, through the sub-text of the story. By avoiding any deeper conversation about his films or about anybody else’s films, Hadžic, like Bauer in a similar interview, resembles classical ’raw’ Hollywood directors, rather than Croatian film makers, but as it was the case with American directors of older generation, his understanding of the film as a media testifies that he has an authentic film talent, even without the cinematographic and theoretical superstructure.

Dean Šoša

Fadil Hadžić’s feature films
The Protest

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