In 2010, the Croatian feature CRNCI (The Blacks) made its way through the international film festival circuit. A chamber piece that uses small gestures to explore the big questions of conscience in Croatian society in metaphorical terms, it served to indicate the courage of filmmakers Goran Dević und Zvonimir Jurić. This drama about the inherent contradictions of the postwar period is one of a series of films to break with reasons of state, no longer speaking of the “War of the Fatherland”, but rather of the atrocities large and small still lying dormant in the subconscious of the collective psyche, having remained largely unaddressed until that point.
While the process of coming to terms with the crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars has since moved on in Croatia, CRNCI, the psychological study of a group of people grappling with the extreme nature of the civil war, continues to resonate as a piece of cinematic art whose possible interpretations stretch far beyond the historical framework of the region. Croatia's accession to the EU this year is a more than suitable occasion to dedicate a short retrospective to the work of Dević and Jurić, both of whose work remains largely unknown in Germany. Both directors operate between history and the everyday to scrutinize their country’s mentality in laconic, pinpoint style, shifting between the bitter undertone of investigative journalism, the tongue-in-cheek irony of the distanced observer and the critical self-interrogation of the humanist.