SECTION: Spotlight: Montenegro

Films from Montenegro show the contrasts of the Adriatic state between coast and mountains, tradition and modernity. Besides the two cult directors Momir Matović and Živko Nikolić, the focus is on young talents. Perspectives of a film country on the move.

The Cinema of Montenegro – Shaped by Contrasts

Located between spectacular mountain ranges and the glamorous Adriatic coast Montenegro, which gained independence back in 2006, has always strived to develop an identity of its own that goes beyond its reputation as a holiday paradise. The results thereof include a thriving domestic film industry. 2017 saw the opening of the Film Centre of Montenegro, which laid the foundation for transparent and sustainable film promotion in this state by the Adriatic Sea, this following on from the success achieved by Montenegrin films at international festivals in recent years.

That brings us to this year's Spotlight: Montenegro series, which combines discoveries from film history with perspectives for the future. Thus, the works of documentary filmmaker Momir Matović, who explores the fascinating landscapes of Montenegro and its people, this year reach the screens of Cottbus. Matović's work follows in the tradition of cult director Živko Nikolić, who in the 1970s and 1980s focused on the cultural differences between the country's rural mountainous regions and the urban south. In 1986 he paid tongue-in-cheek tribute to the contrast between traditional mountain villages and the libertarian nudist camps on the coast with THE BEAUTY OF VICE 1986.

Today, young directors continue a tradition that is fascinated by contrasts which, though one encounters them elsewhere, stand out in Montenegro with particular intensity. The black comedy THE BLACK PIN from Ivan Marinovićs, for example, describes the relationship between a misanthropic, orthodox priest returning to his native village and those who have never left. Despite all the pathos of the forces of nature it is home to, Montenegro long ago found its way into urban normality: down in the lowlands in and around the capital Podgorica thrillers such as Pavle Simonić's LOWDOWN and social dramas like Marija Perović's BREASTS pointedly reflect interpersonal conflict situations as they occur the world over and yet in a way that is unique to Montenegro. BB

Spotlight: Montenegro series is supported by the Ministry for Justice and Europe and Consumer Protection of the State of Brandenburg.

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