Cinematic representations of nationalist-religious ideology in Serbian films during the 1990s
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This thesis is a critical exploration of Serbian film during the 1990s and its potential to provide a critique of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. In this dissertation I focus upon how selected films provide insight into the ideological discourse of the 1990s within the Serbian socio-political and cultural context. I discuss a range of Serbian films produced during the 1990s, and I analyse in detail several films, in particular Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (Lepa sela, lepo gore, Srdjan Dragojevic, 1995) and Wounds (Rane, Srdjan Dragojevic, 1998), in which I focus on the depiction of nationalist and religious elements in the films. I analyse cinematic representations of the nationalist-religious ideology, its characteristics, impacts and promotion. On the basis of this analysis I consider the extent to which these cinematic representations are subversive. My dissertation has seven chapters. In chapter 1, which is an introduction to the thesis, I state my research questions and methodology. In chapter 2 I discuss the research context and I consider literature relevant to my research. Since I am basing my research upon different fields, I divide this chapter into three parts: the first one is devoted to the field of film and religion in which I position this study; the second part is on the literature that I used for the exploration of the socio-political context of the 1990s; and the last part is devoted to literature written on Balkan, Yugoslav and Serbian cinema. In chapter 3 I provide an analysis of the Serbian socio-cultural and political context of the 1990s. Chapter 3 is divided into eight parts, in which I primarily focus on the creation, characteristics and impacts of the nationalist-religious ideology. This discussion includes an analysis of the interaction between the Church and the state in the promotion of this ideological discourse. This chapter is important for the further analysis of Serbian film, its contextualization, and understanding the main issues which films communicated. In chapter 4 I analyse Serbian films produced during the 1990s. In the first part of this chapter, and for the purpose of contextualization of Serbian film, I first briefly discuss the cinematic tradition of former Yugoslavia: the Black Wave movement. I move on to discuss the cinematic context of the 1990s and the films produced over this period of time. I particularly focus on several films which dealt with the political-ideological context of the 1990s. I discuss the most significant films which dealt with the war, violence, ideology and the collapse of Serbian society under the Milosevic regime. The aim of this chapter is to provide a cinematic context for the analysed films and a clearer understanding of Serbian film of the 1990s as politically engaged cinema. Chapter 5 is devoted to the film Pretty Village, Pretty Flame while in chapter 6 I analyse the film Wounds. I analyse these two films separately because of their unique depictions of the nationalist-religious ideology. Both chapters are structured the same way and are divided into two major parts. In the first part of each chapter I consider the film's plot, its genre and its production, as well as discussing the film's critical reception. In the second part of each chapter I analyse the film narrative and images. At the end of each chapter I discuss the results of my analysis. Chapter 7 is the last chapter of my thesis and is devoted to the conclusion. In this final chapter I discuss the findings based on the cinematic and contextual analysis in the previous chapters. As part of my final remarks, I outline the contributions this study has made and future research that can be developed on the basis of this thesis.