Production year: 1963
Duration: 78 minuta
Technique: 35mm widescreen, black and white
A meeting is held in a construction company. The topic is the case of a worker named Milun who dared to confront the company’s director, Čumić. During the war, Čumić and Milun fought together. Recently, the party committee received an anonymous letter that criticized the company’s management and bad interpersonal relations in the company…
Husein Čokić (Milun Koprivica), Ilija Džuvalekovski (Voja Čumić), Vladimir Popović (Radovan), Drago Mitrović (Ilija), Milan Srdoč (Mika), Juraj Knežević (Trajče), Nevenka Benković (Kaća Koprivica), Tomanija Ðuričko (Dušanka), Uglješa Kojadinović (inženjer Kosijer), Božidarka Frajt (Vera), Jere Mrndže (Dača), Kruno Valentić (Raka), Ivo Vrdoljak (Malibrk), Ilija Ivezić (Mitke), Vladimir Sušić (Stevan), Boris Dvornik (Andrija Mačkić), Velimir Chytil (Brko), Dušan Stefanović (Sremac), Pavao Saćer (Jova), Sulejman Lelić (Paja), Jozo Martinčević (Vuk), Rikard Brzeska (Bora), Marija Aleksić (Stevan’s wife) and others.
Country of production:
Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (Socialist Republic of Croatia)
After he had established himself as the leading director of Croatian and Yugoslav genre film, in the end of 1950s and the beginning of 1960s, Branko Bauer embraced ambitious socially critical topics. Firstly, with Tri Ane (1959) he anticipated the Yugoslav Black Wave, and afterwards, with Licem u lice the first time in Yugoslav cinema, he spoke about the problems of the self-administrative social and economic model. The first half of this film, which juxtaposes defenders of the self-administrative principles and the competent manager who does not want incompetent workers interfering with his job, is highly impressive. Bauer does not take sides in this confrontation but rather objectively offers arguments for both (witnessing the incompatibility of harmonious abstract ideals and concrete reality). He placed the focus on opportunism, yellow-bellied cowards, indolence and cowardice of the members of the party organization in the company, through which he also shows the real state of the so-called avant-garde in the self-administrative socialist society. Such a critically direct and authentic portrayal of a typical working environment in the Socialist Yugoslavia in the second part of the film is replaced by the so-called constructive critique and ultimate affirmation of self-administrative principles (and the ‘authentic’ Communist spirit) against the managerial autocracy (and variation from ‘authentic’ Communist practices). This resulted in a manufactured, completely unconvincing resolution of the basically unsolvable problem. Therefore, the film loses its high quality creativity, but its historical importance in the history of Croatian and Yugoslav film remains indisputable. In Pula, Licem u lice won The Great Golden Arena as the best film, Golden Arena for the best director and audience’s award Jelen. This film started the wave of socially critical (and political) films of the 1960s.
Screening permit: from July 15 1963
Export: Czechoslovakia, Poland, Soviet Union, Bulgaria
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