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Aleksandar Saša Petrovic (1929–1994) was one of the most significant filmmakers to come out of Socialist Yugoslavia. He was by far the most awarded director on a national level, winning three Golden Arenas at the Yugoslav Film Festival in Pula, as well as receiving all the highest state awards. He was also acclaimed internationally, and the first Yugoslav director to win prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, in 1967, as well as Oscar nominations in 1967 and 1968. His film, I Even Met Happy Gypsies (1967), was seen by 200,000 people in Paris alone, and was extensively distributed worldwide. The author has defined four themes that have, particularly in Petrovic’s mature work, consistently provided a sharp and thorough commentary on political life and its contradictions. Petrovic regularly investigated: (a) interethnic relationships, and/or the position of ethnic minorities (b) the position of religion in society (or societies) (c) the relationships between political establishments and non-privileged (or marginal) groups in society (or societies) (d) the dogmatic nature of ideologies and/or religions. As Petrovic scrutinised these themes, he introduced a specific anti-dogmatic position of his own, which permeates his later films. This position became a significant element of his authorial signature – if one admits a continuing concern for notions of authorship.

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