27 July 2009

Summer tweet


24 July 2009

Men and heroes

In 2006, Boris Dvornik and Velimir Bata Živojinović publicly reconciled on Croatian TV via a video link. Živojinović spoke from a hospital in Belgrade, where he awaited a heart surgery:
"My dear Boris. Listen. I would give you my heart if it was worth anything... Can you hear me?... You can hear and see me? I can only hear you... and again my heart is full. You will see me. This is not so tragic and horrible as it is talked about. Many people did this operation before me and they are well. But I wish to see you. I wish for you to come the night before the operation, so that I can see you and that all this passes nicely and that we can continue to give eachother company like 50 years ago. At this occassion, I am giving my regards to you and all the viewers of your TV in Croatia and the whole nation in Croatia. I give my regards from my heart as this heart is. I have no better one."
When asked how he would react upon finding Boris Dvornik at his hospital bed, Bata responded: "You see, I will recognize him, but I don't know what's up with me, I have somehow grown old, he will have a hard time recognizing me... I am afraid of strong emotions, they... in this moment I am trying to show as little as possible of my emotions, because a man in my years is given to tears. I will do my best not to raise tensions, because in this moment I need that least. I know best what I feel and how I will react once I see him...
To endure this as men and heroes."

23 July 2009

Goodbye, Bato

Young Velimir Bata Živojinović and Boris Dvornik, each a legendary Yugoslavian actor in his own right, the former a Serb and the latter a Croat, in the partisan film Sutjeska (1973). Before the war broke up Yugoslavia, Živojinović and Dvornik were best friends. In 1991, however, Boris Dvornik broke all ties with Velimir Bata Živojinović with a statement read to the public.
"... Remember Brioni, Bato, and the late Tito. More than any of us actors, you were his guest... Nobody of us knew him as well as you, and I believe that he loved none of us actors as much as you. And now, suddenly, you blame him for the suffering of Serbs. You shouted and demanded in public that his photograph be taken off the walls of the Serbian assembly. Bato, others could do that, but you not. Maybe all the others. But you not. By acting in this way, you are spitting into your own face. And you shout at this same assembly that all Croats should be killed. Do you, Bato, not understand that this is no longer shooting a movie? These are no fakes, Bato, here they shoot with real ammunition...
For thirty years, your telephone number has been written in my address book. Who should I now call after thirty years on this number? I understand now that during all these thirty years I was your friend for real, but you were my friend only on screen.
We have destroyed bridges, Bato, railways, raised barricades, killed many enemies, but all this was only a movie. We shot that to warn the generations that something like that should never be repeated again. And what is this now? You chose the side of the shadow and blood, where the real killing is taking place. I used to know this person who unfortunately for me does not exist any longer. I would love it, Bato, if you realize that this is no longer a movie but reality, in which unfortunately the shooting of bullets takes place.
Goodbye, Bato."

22 July 2009

Džon Vejn, Šojka and Velizar

The legendary Velimir Bata Živojinović, a John Wayne of Yugoslav partisan movies, in an awarded Serbian film Pretty Village Pretty Flame (1996).
The original title of the movie, Lepa sela lepo gore, more correctly reads as beautiful villages burn beautifully.
Now themselves grown up, Šojka and Velizar from Sivi dom (Zoran Cvijanović and Nikola Kojo) fight the war of John Waynes.

21 July 2009

Šilja and Sonja

Žarko Laušević, by far the most promising actor to come out of the Sivi dom young actors' pack. After his stunning performance as Šilja, he stole the hearts of producers and directors and collected the best roles.
How come then that we lost track of him?
In 1993, in Podgorica, at 33 years of age and drunk, Žarko Laušević fired a CZ-99 gun killing two people. Having spent several years in prison, he left for New York where he works on construction sites, eerily echoing Šilja's destiny.
Sve što želim u ovom trenutku...
The song is Sonja, an old Russian song of a murderer, imprisoned in Siberia, here performed by Tea Hodžić. The original track and the lyrics can be found here.

20 July 2009


An excerpt from Sivi dom, a cult series about a youth reform institution in Kruševac made by Television Belgrade (1985).
One is only one in this world, friendships are rare and harsh. Inmates, at their best, are stealing wallets while saving lifes.
I have my hands to be tied, I have my legs to run, I have my mouth to lie.
This is the ending scene of the series (episode 12). A large group of escaped inmates is caught and brought back. This is not the first time inmates sing this song (among others, they sang it on Silja's release).
At this time, Crni is dead, while Sojka, having killed Beli, is taken to an adult prison. At the very end of the scene, Matić and Savka are reunited.

17 July 2009


A scene from Blade Runner, a film directed by Ridley Scott (1982). Another personal favourite.
All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain
Time to die

Awaiting his death in 1827, Senryu wrote this death poem with strikingly similar wording:

Like dew drops
on a lotus leaf
I vanish

When my time runs up, my last words will hopefully not state the obvious. I want to live the time allotted to me, not die it. Perhaps something similar to the last words of general John Sedgwick before he died in battle:
They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...

16 July 2009

Last wandering

Sick on a journey,
only my dreams will wander
these desolate moors.

A death poem is written when one feels his death acoming. The one posted here is by Matsuo Bashō. His last wandering. Even a horse arrested his eyes on that snowy morrow.

15 July 2009


"The rains of the long journey have torn my hat, and my coat has crumbled in the daily storms... I suddenly remember the master of the wild verse, Chikusai, wandering in the old days on these paths," wrote Matsuo Bashō before he opened Winter Days, a famous renku (linked verse), with the following hokku:

In the withering gusts
a wanderer -
how much like Chikusai I have become!

In order to make a renku, Japanese poets sat in a circle, and the verses traveled from one poet to the next. The first poet, the master of verse – Bashō in this case - wrote the first three verses (the hokku), then the next poet borrowed the previous poet’s ending verse and added his two verses to construct a new poem, and so it went all the way to the last poet in the circle.
Winter Days was made in the 17th century by a circle of 36 poets.
In 2003, Kihachirō Kawamoto gave life to Winter Days as a linked animation by inviting 36 animators to each create a 30-seconds long animation of verses written by each of the 36 poets. Yuri Norstein, the master of wild animation, was invited to create an animation of Bashō's hokku. Norstein created this minute long animation in which the two wanderers - Bashō, the poet and Chikusai, the character of lore – meet.

14 July 2009

Master of wild verse

In the withering gusts,
a wanderer -
how much like Chikusai I have become!

Winter Days by Matsuo Bashō (1684)

13 July 2009

Heron and Crane

Heron and Crane, a short animation by Yuri Norstein (1974). A personal favourite.

10 July 2009

It’s raining Robert Mitchum

As for me, I long for the days of… Robert Mitchum
I know, he was a little beefy and soft
But when he took it all off
He was… bitchin'

Robert Mitchum song from Naked Boys Singing!, an off-Broadway musical.

09 July 2009


Leaning on the Everlasting Arms by Robert Mitchum and Lilian Gish.
Scene taken from The Night of the Hunter. Song written by Anthony J. Showalter (1887).
Motionless Gish awaits the next move from the children hunter. The hunter sings.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms

Midway into the song, Gish – the children protector - joins in singing.
Lean on Jesus, lean on Jesus, safe and secure from all alarms
Lean on Jesus, lean on Jesus, leaning on the everlasting arms

A magnificent scene of fearless good facing fearsome evil.
It is the evil that sings the true lines.
The devil has the best tunes.

08 July 2009


Once upon a time
There was a pretty fly
He had a pretty wife
This pretty fly
But one night
She flew away
Flew away
She had two pretty children
But one night
These two pretty children
Flew away
Flew away
Into the sky
Into the moon

A haunting lullaby, opening the scene at 0:30.
The Lullaby, appearing later in the scene at 3:50, is sung by Kitty White. Walter Schumann, the composer, reportedly personally discovered her in a nightclub.
The scene is taken from The Night of the Hunter (1955), a cult film directed by Charles Laughton and starring an unforgettable Robert Mitchum.
And a child shall lead them.

07 July 2009


A startling opening scene of King Creole. Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Crawfish, lazily sung by Elvis Presley and Kitty White.

06 July 2009

King Creole

Elvis performing Trouble in King Creole (1958).
If you’re looking for trouble… you’ve come to the right place…This is a film noir directed by Michael Curtiz. It was filmed years after Curtiz had made Casablanca. The film has… atmosphere… to burn…
Elvis thought King Creole his best film.

03 July 2009

Word jazz

My Baby, by Ken Nordine and the Fred Katz Group (1959).

02 July 2009

Tom Waits Continued

What's He Building In There? by Tom Waits. Taken from the Mule Variations album (2004).

01 July 2009

Frank's wild years

A promotion video for the Frank's Wild Years album, by Tom Waits (1987). Live performance by Tom Waits of the title song, Frank's Wild Years, can be seen here (from 0:20 until 2:06).