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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).

Omnibus films, 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.

Namely, 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 authors).

Nikica Gilić

Worn-out Subjects? How Can You Exhaust the Life? — Bio-Filmographical Conversation with Petar Krelja
Documentarism as Ethical Choice (On Documentary Films by Petar Krelja)
My Life as an Example
Petar Krelja Filmography

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