Želimir Žilnik is one of the most important, politically committed filmmakers in Europe. Radicalized in the wake of the student protests in Belgrade in 1968, the director (born in 1942) became a pioneer of Yugoslavia’s Black Wave film movement, which created works that did not ignore the ills of a socialist society.

Žilnik’s feature film debut, EARLY WORKS, the Berlinale winner in 1969 and long lost in obscurity, is one of the key works of political film and impressively shows how ideologies fail in the face of reality. Since then, the director’s work has gone through many phases, which, however, has not affected his aggressive and independent approach.

Whether he explores the dark sides of Yugoslavia, the working conditions for migrants in Germany or, as in THE OLD SCHOOL OF CAPITALISM (2009), the effects of global capitalism in Serbia, Žilnik is always concerned about those who are excluded from the prevailing discourses. In approaching the outsiders of society, he does not rely on aesthetic or emotional platitudes. Instead, he dares to cast a scrutinizing eye, which also always questions his own thinking. Žilnik’s work is not only about depicting representative constructs of a better coexistence; he regards the act of filming itself as part of the revolution. He thus creates an undogmatic cinema that believes in a rousing and dialectical
manner that it can change the world.

In cooperation with Kunsthalle Wien.