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Spomenik Database Video Archive

Documentaries

The following list of videos are various links to full-length documentary films which provide insight into the history, legacy, design and politics behind of the abstract WWII (NOB) monuments (or 'spomeniks') of the former Yugoslavia. This section is divided into two parts, the first being 'Analysis of the Monuments', which presents documentaries about the monuments themselves (as well as their creators), while the second part of this section is called 'History of Yugoslavia', which presents documentaries about historical Yugoslav events related to the history or legacy of the monuments (such as certain battles of WWII that relate to the monuments or the examinations of the Yugoslav Wars). My inclusion of any particular film here is not necessarily an endorsement of its content or message... I am simply providing here a range of educational options for users to explore.

Analysis on the Monuments

Neželjena baština [2016]

This documentary by Croatian director Irena Škorić, whose title roughly translates into English as "Unwanted Heritage", is an exploration of the destruction and ruined condition that many of the WWII (NOB) monuments of the former Yugoslavia have fallen into in the years after the country's dismantling in the early 1990s. This film specifically examines monuments in presently independent country of Croatia, whose monuments saw some of the most devastating post-war destruction. Significant amounts of historical footage and personal interviews make this documentary particularly moving. The film is in Croatian but available with English subtitles.

Circles of Memory [2007]

This documentary by OBC Transeuropa examines the overall legacy of the innovative abstract WWII monuments created during the Yugoslav era. Not only does this interview contain many fascinating interviews with various academics and experts on the topic, it also contains significant clips of interviews with Bogdan Bogdanović and Dušan Džamonja, during which both talk at length about the impact their monumental sculptures have had on society over the decades. This film interviews individuals of a wide array of language backgrounds, but is presented here with embedded English subtitles.

Architecture of Remembrance: the Monuments of Bogdan Bogdanović [2010]

This documentary by Verlag Anton Pustet explores the surrealistic and abstract WWII (NOB) monuments by famed Serbian artist Bogdan Bogdanović. Through this film, Bogdanović is interviewed at length and gives very personal and introspective accounts of the monuments that he had made throughout his lifetime, as well as commenting on the current state of decay that many of them have fallen into during recent times. This film provides an excellent history of both Bogdanović, as well as detailed information about a significant number of his works. The documentary is presented in English with Serbo-Croatian subtitles.

BG Chat with Miodrag Živković [~2009]

This video is an episode from the Belgrade-based interview show called 'BG Chat' featuring Serbian sculptor Miodrag Živković, an artist who is responsible for some of the most recognizable and impressive WWII (NOB) monuments built during the Yugoslav era. During this interview Živković discusses his life of sculpting and monuments creation, recounting personal stories and fascinating details about the creation of some of his most famous works, such as his monument at Kragujevac. In addition, he discusses his contemporary work on religious sculptures and monuments. This video is in Serbian without any subtitles.

Dolina heroja TJENTIŠTE [1974]

This film is a short production which documents the 1974 ceremony of Josip Tito arriving for a grand ceremony at the 'Valley of the Heroes' monument in then Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Bosnia, near the village of Tjentište. The film discusses the history of the site and the various memorial elements which were built there. The production is unique in showing the whole monument complex in vivid 1970s color film, as well as giving a glimpse into the pageantry and grandeur of Yugoslav memorial ceremonies of that time period. This film is presented in the Serbo-Croatian language without any embedded subtitles.

A Second World [2016]

This short documentary, created by Oscar Hudsan and Ruben Woodin-Dechamps, focuses on an aging eccentric Serbian man named Ljuba Stojanović who believes that he is in communication with aliens, while a vast array of the abstract WWII (NOB) monuments across the former Yugoslavia are used as a backdrop to relate his fantastical story. In addition, the film interviews many local people who live in proximity to the monuments who tell their own personal stories about these sculptural works, their histories and the fates which befell many of them. This production is presented in Serbian with embedded English subtitles.

Spomenici i mi [2016]

This documentary, produced by Bosnian BHRT TV, explores various monumental structures, both modern and ancient, across the Bosnian landscape. Among those Bosnian sites examined in this film are the Yugoslav WWII (NOB) monuments at Makljen and at Mostar. The film explores the history of these sites as well as the state of disrepair and destruction that these and many other sites across Bosnia exist in currently. In addition, other interesting Bosnian monument sites are investigated as well, such as the Bruce Lee statue in Mostar and the EU Canned Beef sculpture in Sarajevo. This production is presented in Bosnian language, with some of those interviewed speaking in English with Bosnian subtitles.

Spomenici [2018]

In the documentary series "Put u budućnost/Way to the Future" on Serbian television station RTS, the first episode of the second season, titled "Spomenici/Monuments", author and cultural critic Boris Miljković examines the heritage of the abstract WWII monuments of the former Yugoslavia. In this episode, Miljković visits and discusses the monuments at Tjentište, Kozara, as well as the monuments of Bogdan Bogdanović (such as the ones at Jasenovac and Mitrovica). In addition, Miljković discusses the opening of the 2018 Yugoslav architecture exhibition at the Modern Museum of Art in New York City that is one the first major examination of the subject in the US. This documentary is in the Serbian language and provides no subtitles.

History of Yugoslavia

Na Sutjesci [1959]

This documentary produced by the Yugoslav government is a production relating the 'official' story of the 1943 Battle of Sutjeska, during which Josip Tito faced off against Axis forces in the Sutjeska Valley near present day Tjentište, Bosnia. This film is largely comprised of historical black & white footage interspersed with some additional color footage commentary and interviews from people who lived through the battle. The location of this battle is presently where the large 'Valley of the Heroes' monument is located, created in 1971 by Miodrag Živković. This documentary is presented in Serbo-Croatian without any available subtitles.

JASENOVAC [1945]

This documentary, which is about the WWII death camps which existed at Jasenovac in modern-day Croatia, was among the first documentary films made by the government of the newly created Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This black & white film explores, in grisly detail, the brutality and devastation that was found in the post-war aftermath of the liberation of the Jasenovac concentration camp (among other camps as well). While the film is of quite low-quality due to its age, the shocking nature of the images remain quite visceral and disturbing. The Jasenovac site is the current location of the Flower Monument by famous designer Bogdan Bogdanović. This video is in Serbo-Croatian but is presented here with embedded English subtitles.

Užička republika [1974]

This documentary is a film about the history of the Republic of Užice, which was a separatist region during WWII where Partisan forces took control of Axis territory in Serbia during the winter of 1941. The events of this documentary are directly related to the events memorialized by the Kadinjača monument near Užice, Serbia. The film examines this episode though historical footage, documents and photographs as well as through interviewing people who lived through these events. The documentary even has interview footage of Josip Tito himself talking about his involvement in the offensive. This video is presented in the Serbo-Croatian language without any embedded subtitles.

KOZARA (Bitka na Kozari) [~1970s]

This documentary in a film about the history of the Kozara Offensive, which was an Axis attack against Partisan forces in the western mountains of Bosnia in 1942 during WWII. During this battle, many thousands of civilians and Partisan fighters were killed. The film examines this episode though historical footage, documents and photographs as well as through interviewing people who lived through the Axis attacks. The events depicted in this documentary are directly related to the events memorialized by the massive monument at Kozara, which resides at the site of the battle. This video is presented in the Serbo-Croatian language, however, it does not have any embedded subtitles.

Bitka na Neretvi [1969]

This documentary is a film about the history of the Battle of Neretva, which was an 1943 episode of WWII where Josip Tito and his Partisan rebels successfully eluded an Axis planned trap to contain and destroy them. The film is predominately comprised of archival and historical footage, as well as interviews of veterans and fighters who took part in the battle. The events depicted in the documentary directly relate to the events which are commemorated in the now ruined monument at Makljen, Bosnia. This video is presented in the Serbo-Croatian language, however, it does not have any embedded subtitles.

Kragujevački oktobar [2017]

This documentary is a presentation of the history andcultural legacy of the October 21st, 1941 executions which occurred in Kragujevac, Serbia during WWII, as examining the Šumarice Memorial Park built in the town to honor and commemorate these events. The production, which was created by Serbia's RTV, begins by relating the WWII history of Kragujevac and the events which led up to the executions, after which point the film focuses on the memorial sculpture by Miodrag Živković which honors the school children who were executed at the site. In addition, the film also explores the impressive October 21st Museum at Šumarice, which houses many artifacts and art works dedicated to the atrocities which occurred. Presented in the Serbian language, no English subtitles are available.

Death of Yugoslavia [1996]

This documentary in a BBC production in four separate parts (all joined together in this linked video) about the events that led to the dismantling of Yugoslavia during the early 1990s. The film goes into great detail about the events which led to the conflict between all of the different groups in the Yugoslav region and how these contentions led to war. The series contains very interesting interviews and discussions with some of the most relevant people and key players of this highly complex and incendiary situation, which include many clips of interviews with Slobodan Milošević himself. This documentary is very useful to those who may be all together unfamiliar with the events which led to Yugoslavia's collapse. It is presented in English with subtitles where necessary.

Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War [1999]

This documentary gives a much different approach to the subject of the Yugoslav Wars compared to the above listed BBC produced documentary. Directed by George Bogdanich, the film takes the perspective that much of the turmoil and bloodshed that resulted from the wars of the 1990s were a calculated result of manipulative Western interventions, as well as what are described as the misinformed Western news media. Formatted as recorded interviews cut with historical footage, the film does an interesting job of challenging much of what is commonly accept about the events of Yugoslav Wars, analyzing them from unique perspectives and alternative viewpoints. While controversial upon its release, it is useful if you are seeking out varied historical understandings of the Yugoslav region.