Public Engagement

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DOC TALK: SURFING THE YUGOSLAV BLACK WAVE Screening of short works and Q&A with filmmaker KARPO GODINA

Monday, October 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium (Room N101), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center 66 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10003

“[The black of black wave] is about where the society as society is absent and about what politics, however democratic, cannot represent.” - Boris Buden

“Film – weapon or shit?” - Black Wave ABC Glossary, Surfing the Black Zine No.3

We are inviting you to this special program of short documentaries by one of the leading representatives of the so-called Black Wave cinema, Karpo Godina. Subversive and optimistic, often hilarious, slightly ironic and never cynical, Black Wave films celebrate life in socialist Yugoslavia while mocking the ideological rigidity of the ruling party. Shot all across Yugoslavia, they represent the best of Yugoslav cinema of the time. This screening is a rare opportunity to see several award-winning documentaries including two of Godina’s best known and politically subversive works from the early 1970s: Litany of Happy People, an ironic take on the dogma of Yugoslav brotherhood and unity shot in the multiethnic villages of northwest Serbia and driven by a titillating soundtrack; and On the Art of Love or a Film with 14441 Frames, a delightful exercise in satirical documentary filmmaking described as “one of the most farcical anti-military films created by a military unit” (Vassily Bourikas). An esteemed director, cinematographer and editor, Godina frequently collaborated with another key figure of Black Wave cinema, Želimir Žilnik, whose Black Film – shot exquisitely by Godina – will also be featured in the program. In this darkly funny short documentary from 1971, Žilnik invites a group of homeless men into his tiny apartment who then actively participate in making a film about their situation. The filmmaker engages in conversations with social workers, policemen and ordinary citizens, providing a critical look at both state institutions and film as social practice.

The last film in the program is Matjaž Ribnik’s 2013 short documentary Karpopotnik in which the young Slovenian director retraces Godina’s journey to remote Serbian villages and the short documentary film he shot there in 1970, of which only a few frames survived. A homage to Godina and his Black Wave oeuvre, Karpopotnik interrogates the social role and the diverse legacies a moving image can have.

For more than 40 years, Karpo Godina has brought a playfully anarchical spirit to the poetics and politics of film, moving breathlessly between fiction and nonfiction in his avant-garde shorts of the 1960s and ’70s and his feature films of the 1980s and ’90s. Godina was a frequent collaborator of Bahrudin “Bato” Čengić, Želimir Žilnik, Dušan Makavejev, Lordan Zafranović, and other pioneering members of the Black Wave, and he has since worked comfortably in the former Yugoslavian republics as a director, screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor.

Please join us for this screening and Q&A with acclaimed filmmaker Karpo Godina, hosted and moderated by Amir Husak, Director of Documentary Studies and Assistant Professor in the School of Media Studies. 

Presented by the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies.


Students, Alumni, General Public, Prospective Students


Schools of Public Engagement, School of Media Studies, University



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By Train:
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The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
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