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“This research-based essay film shows a very personal perspective on the history of socialist Yugoslavia, its dramatic end, and its recent transformation into a few democratic nation states.”
– Marta Popivoda
The film deals with the question of how ideology performed itself in public space through mass performances. The author collected and analyzed film and video footage from the period of Yugoslavia (1945 – 2000), focusing on state performances (youth work actions, May Day parades, celebrations of Youth Day, etc.) as well as counter-demonstrations (’68, student and civic demonstrations in the ’90s, 5th October revolution, etc.).
She went back through the images and traced how communist ideology was gradually exhausted through the changing relations between the people, ideology, and the state. The film ends at the doors of contemporary Serbian democracy and neoliberal capitalism, demanding that we reflect on why citizens so easily abandoned the ideas of collectivism, brotherhood and unity, workers rights, and free education, replacing them, firstly, with nationalism and war, and then with a promise of freedom and democracy which instead turned out to be individualism and “wild” capitalism.
In dramaturgical terms, the film combines the theoretical concepts of social choreography and social drama, transposing them into film language. Through this directorial gesture, Popivoda explores a trajectory from Richard Sennett’s thesis – when ideology becomes a belief, it has the power to activate the people and their social behavior – to the thesis of Renata Salecl – at some point people in Yugoslavia had only a belief in belief: they didn’t believe in communist ideology anymore, but believed others did. 

Marta Popivoda, born in 1982 in Belgrade, is a film and video maker and a cultural worker based in Berlin and Belgrade. 

Format: HDCAM
Running time: 62 min
Director: Marta Popivoda
Writers: Ana Vujanović, Marta Popivoda
Editor: Nataša Damnjanović
Producers: Marta Popivoda, Alice Chauchat, TkH [Walking Theory], Belgrade, Universität der Künste Berlin, Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, Paris
Co-producer: Ann Carolin Renninger (joon film, Berlin)
Executive producer: Dragana Jovović
Sound design: Jakov Munižaba

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur