The World Audiovisual Heritage Day, celebrated on 27 October and organised by the Cinema Network and Croatian Film Archives (Croatian Cinematheque), will host screenings at 30 cinemas across Croatia of the hits films The Birch Tree by Ante Babaja, made exactly 50 years ago, and The Secret of an Old Attic, paying tribute to the recently departed director Vladimir Tadej. The event also includes an exhibition of posters of old Croatian films at 24 cinemas.
Designed as a starting point for the strengthening of awareness about preserving audiovisual heritage as a common legacy of all people fostering global cultural identity, the World Audiovisual Heritage Day this year takes place under the slogan “Audiovisual Heritage: Discover, Remember and Share”. The visitors at 30 Croatian cinemas will have a chance to see the award-winning film The Birch Tree (1967) by Ante Babaja, a poignant cinematic tale of life and ruthless community of rural Turopolje, based on the iconic short story by Slavko Kolar.
Although the frail and sensitive Janica, played by Manca Košir, is infinitely loved by Joža Sveti, the village girl accepts the wooing of the forest ranger Marko, inclined to debauchery, and finally becomes his wife. Despite the marriage to the most beautiful girl in the village, Marko, played by Bata Živojinović, doesn’t give up on his lifestyle and neglects Janica, who dies soon after a miscarriage. The raw rural daily life becomes even worse when Marko, to Joža’s contempt, soon after his wife’s funeral accepts to be the flag-bearer at a wedding. The film launched the best local actors to stardom: next to Manca Košir and Živojinović, the cast includes Fabijan Šovagović (Joža Sveti), Nela Eržišnik (Kata Labudanka, Marko’s mother) and Stane Sever, Stjepan Lektorić and Martin Sagner. The film won the Bronze Arena (ex aequo) at the Pula Film Festival in 1967, and the same year Velimir Bata Živojinović won the Golden Arena for the best leading male role. Tomislav Pinter won the Golden Arena for cinematography.
The younger audience might find interesting the screening of the film The Secret of an Old Attic (1984), by Vladimir Tadej, about two radio amateurs whose holiday on the island of Hvar becomes an adventure – the powerful weaponry brings along an international intelligence organisation. The protagonists who find a forgotten invention of an anti-gravity cannon in an old attic, boys Miro and Pepek, are played by Mario Mirković and Jiri Guryca, opposite Boris Dvornik (Šime), Špiro Guberina (Marko Pivac) and Nina Petrović (Božena); Petar Jelaska, Mia Oremović and others. Rene Bitorajac, at the age of 12, played Adam.
The World Audiovisual Heritage Day will also host an exhibition of 22 posters of old Croatian films in 24 Croatian cinemas. The display includes classics like Družba Pere Kvržice, A Song a Day Takes Mischief Away, Battle of Neretva by Picasso, I Have Two Mothers and Two Fathers, Cyclopes, You Only Love Once, A Train in the Snow etc.
The event is financed by the Croatian Audiovisuall Centre, Kultura nova Foundation and City of Zagreb.
Since UNESCO made 27 October the World Audiovisual Heritage Day, governments, national film archives, TV and radio stations and countless film institutions every year throughout the world organise public events, discussions and lectures with the aim of stressing the sensitivity and endangerment of audiovisual heritage, publishing the so far unknown film works from protected collections. Audiovisual heritage, including film, TV and radio, basically belongs to the previous century and testifies to the economic, political and social development. Countless sound records, moving images and other audiovisual materials are unfortunately lost as historical sources due to neglect, natural decay and technological obsoleteness. For that reason, on 27 October every year, special attention is paid to raising awareness on the importance of audiovisual documents as a constituent part of every country’s national identity, warning of the need for their protection.