STUDIES AND RESEARCH
Šime Šimatović — Doyen of Croatian cinema
Although he made only 34 films (3 motion pictures), 85 year-old Šime Šimatovic is an unavoidable figure in Croatian culture even today because he has always been actively involved in the cultural life and helped the founding of several film and cultural institutions. He tested his acting skills already in the partizans, whom he joined beeing a rough Croatian from Lika. Even though he was not a communist, he could not accept Pavelic’s trading of Dalmatia to Italy. In Zagreb, after the war, he started working on film, at first as artistic director of Jadran film, but then he went to Prague to study film. After 1948, he returned to Jadran film, worked for some time as a freelancer, and then became member of the Cinema commision. This set off his career in directing, mostly documentaries.
Šimatovic’s first motion picture Stone horizons (1953, Kameni horizonti), based on Vjekoslav Kaleb’s idea, revealed socialist realism, and neorealism, while his second motion picture Our Paths Part (1957, Naši se putovi razilaze) dealt with the Resistance movement in Zagreb, which was a theme close to the author’s experience. An Adventurer at the Door (1961, Pustolov pred vratima), an adaptation of Milan Begovic’s drama, was rather untypical for that time because of its sickly atmosphere, salon scenography and dramaturgy, and fatalism, but announced a new era in Croatian cinematography.