My own private Yugoslavia: František čap and the socialist celluloid closet
Author: jovanović, Nebojša
Source: Studies in Eastern European Cinema, Volume 3, Number 2, October 2012 , pp. 211-229(19)
Abstract:Just as the queering of the western cinemas helped us to discern the complexities lurking under the ‘hetero vs. homo’ dichotomy in the western socio-political milieux, similar enquiry into the Eastern European cinemas during socialism can help us to more fully explore the history of the ‘socialist closet’ in different Eastern European countries and societies. Problematizing the chronic non-existence of representations of queers in Eastern European cinemas during socialism, this article tackles the issue in the context of Yugoslav cinema. Enquiry into the relation between Yugoslav cinema and queer sexuality so far has been mainly conducted as an exercise in homo-spotting: the authors would more or less catalogue gay and lesbian characters sporadically appearing on-screen. Important and necessary as it is, this approach should be supplanted by the analyses that go beyond the pinning down of overt homosexual identities, and explore their very stability. Arguing for employment and testing of queer theory with regard to the history of Yugoslav cinema, this article looks at Vrata ostaju otvorena/The Doors Remain Open, a 1959 film by Czech émigré director František čap, and treats it as a showcase of the ‘socialist celluloid closet’ that encompasses several strategies of both displaying queer desire, and avoiding the standard happy ending based on the formation of heterosexual couple.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Central European University
Publication date: October 31, 2012
- In the years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the political changes of 1989/90, there has been a growing interest in the cinemas of the former countries of the Eastern Bloc. There is a growing community of scholars, including a number of students working for post-graduate qualifications, who are engaged with film but also media, culture, and art (of one form or another) from the region. This is not a community existing on the margins of academia but one which is nationally and internationally recognised for the centrality and high quality of its scholarship. Studies in Eastern European Cinema provides a dynamic, innovative, regular, specialised peer-reviewed academic outlet and discursive focus for the world-wide community of Eastern European film scholars, edited by a board of experienced, internationally recognised experts in the field.
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