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Croatian film


Film as a sign and partner to modernisation

Film appeared in Croatia as one of the symbols of the historic process of modernisation, i.e. harmonizing the existing situation with what was considered respectably modern, this being all progress based on technology aimed at making all the forms of everyday social life better. Film was one of the most evident modern technological inventions and with its real and fascinating presence, as well as the complex functions it took on, it clearly opened up new possibilities of modernization in terms of public communications. For instance, film successfully joined the mass culture core of modernization, developing into the key instrument of mass communication, together with the existing print media. It succeeded thanks to some of its key characteristics: (1) its registration and reproduction qualities; (2) its distributiveness, the possibility of being distributed in a very short period of time onto a large geographic area; (3) its quality of perceptive clarity of what it offered and the possibility to develop it further, leading to (4) the cognitive function it started to play, both through its documentary as well as its feature section, and (5) the informative function it began to play through film journals; this should be joined by (6) the entertainment and imaginary functions – i.e. film is formed as an instrument of fulfilling imaginary and emotional functions of the viewers. However, what marked film as an instrument of mass communication similar to print media, and later to radio and television as well, was, first of all, the existence of a widely available spatial object, or medium, that could be manipulated and adjusted in terms of time and space. Secondly, there is the quality of regularity of appearance, which made viewers develop a habit. Thirdly, the programme was structured, and, fourthly, the programme was diverse and thus presented various cultural contents and enabled different presentation models (a spectrum of film types and genres). All of this had a huge potential for bringing together and creating a mass audience. Judging by all of this, at least in its early stages, film really became the key factor of modernization: democratization of culture and participation in what is most important – in creating public awareness, relevant worldwide but also at national levels, as well as developing common values related to experiences, cognitive processes and actions.

Hrvoje Turković

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