The cinematheque in down-town Belgrade has been preserving the most wonderful films and celebrating art for decades. For this reason, Kinoteka is not just an institution of immeasurable cultural significance – it is a place you love
The contemporary cinematographic and archiving institution, preserving and glorifying the illustrious history of the domestic cinematography in downtown Belgrade has presented, during this month alone, an homage to the recently passed virtuoso of the dramatic arts, Nebojša Glogovac, a story about one of the world’s great names in cinematography, Howard Hawks, but also a digital restauration of the cult titles in Serbian film art.
As the restored film “Ko to tamo peva” (“Who’s Signin’ Over There?”) by Slobodan Šijan was shown, the Belgrade audiences had the first chance to see “the best Serbian film ever made” in the full sheen of each brilliant pixel. From the large screen, clearer than ever before, the magical scenes of nature and flame filled out the room, showing every wrinkle on the faces of the grand masters – Paja Vujisić, Bata Stojković, the young Dragan Nikolić and all the other acting greats that set the bar pretty high for the generations that followed. After the success of this presentation, it is clear why the fans of good films were so enthusiastic about the restorations of “Kad budem mrtav i beo” (“When I am Dead and Gone”) by Živojin Pavlović and “Specijalno vaspitanje” (“Special Education”), the cult film by Goran Marković.
There is something magical about Kinoteka. Its story began officially in August 1948, but already at the beginning of 1947, the Committee for Cinematography had decided to establish its cinematheque. As the explanation read, the task of this institution was to collect “all Yugoslav film journals, documentary and foreign art films, films made during the war etc.” In addition, by exchanging with foreign film archives, the cinematheque was to procure copies of foreign films that would allow directors, dramaturgists and other film artists to get acquainted with the history of film and the most significant works of cinematographic art.
In the eighty years of collecting and preserving domestic films, foreign films, screenplays, photographs and other documents, this place in Belgrade seems to have absorbed all the magic of the cinematographic arts and all the imagination of the brilliant artists that have created it over the years. It safeguards the dramatic situations and comic plot twists, painful break-ups and dying breaths, rides in Fića (Zastava 750) and the golden locks of Milena Dravić, sweet romantic quarrels of enamoured protagonists and Bata Živojinović’s one-liners. This is why the Kinoteka is not just an institution of immeasurable cultural importance, it is a place you love. It is completely impossible not to fall in love with Kinoteka.
By Miljana Nešković