Dušan Makavejev 13.10.1932 – 25.01.2019

Andrijana Stojkovic: I remember when in July 2007 two great film artist – Bergman and Antonioni – “left” during one night… It seemed that the (film) world will never be the same again. And it isn’t. But these last days it gotten even sadder – while the (film) world is reminding of the significance and wonderfully honest art of Jonas Mekas, on Friday we have lost maybe the most free and imaginative film director that ever lived – Dušan Makavejev.

It’s not easy to explain who Makavejev was. His exploration of film art moves through many forms and genres. He’s best known for his fiction films, which included documentary footage, doku-drama, some very unusual work with actors… He played and played and played. Never taking himself too seriously but always provoking us – the audience – and showing us the unexpected.

I travel a lot to film festivals and film markets and listen to film projects in development. Also read many synopses and director’s intentions. In today’s (film) world there is this need to use words like “unusual”, “new”, “original”. We, directors, use it a lot. What I do when I hear this adjectives in someone’s presentation I roll out all Makavejev’s films in my head and it turns out that Makavejev has already used these “unusual”, “new”, “original” approaches in his film(s) maybe 40, 50 or even 60 years ago.

In 2011 I was finishing my debut fiction film and since its script was transformed into a novel, I was invited to a book fair in Pula (Croatia) where I was to show 15 minutes of my still unfinished film. Dušan Makavejev with his wife and long-time collaborator Bojana, were the star guests of the fair. I have invited them to the screening of my film-to-become and they cordially excepted and came. I was so honored and somehow proud to have them in the audience. Especially since my film plays with fiction and documentary forms and uses them in “original” way. And then, during the screening, scenes from Makavejev’s “W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism” and “Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator” came to my mind. He’s already done it! – I thought.

Although, inactive in making films in the recent years, he was tutoring and advising other filmmakers. Joshua Oppenheimer never misses a chance to mention Makavejev’s influence on his films. For us, here in Serbia, Makavejev is the beacon, which reminds us of the way to freedom of expression and importance of artistic freedom.

Dušan Makavejev will be greatly missed.

Andrijana Stojkovic

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3872