Writers Without Money started out as a film site. Film is a broad enough category and of itself. But the site expanded even beyond that overly wide scope. There’s nothing wrong with an “everything and nothing” blog (as these things used to be called in the early 2000s) but I’ve been curious about what a more narrowly defined film site would look like.
French, Japanese, American, Soviet, Italian, Indian, even Polish film are huge subjects it would take a lifetime of study to master. There are on the other hand more compact cinematic traditions. One of the most interesting parts of Eastern Europe is the Balkans. Unlike Poland or the Baltics, which are virulently Russophobic, or Russia itself, which at the present time, sadly, finds itself in an undeclared war with the United States, the nation states that make up the former Yugoslavia lean towards neutrality. They’re small, and relatively poor countries, and they’re often manipulated by the European Union into taking a more pro-western stance but in general, at least these days, Belgrade has more freedom of the press, at least when it comes to the Russo Ukraine American War, than London or New York.
Serbia, of course, is not the Balkans and the Balkans aren’t Serbia, as everybody in the 1990s found out so painfully, but it is the large, most diverse, most culturally rich part of the former Yugoslavia and has an astonishingly brilliant cinematic tradition. It’s not just Emir Kusturica and Underground. So why don’t I just call the site “The Cinema of Serbia.” There’s a fairly silly reason. I wanted the site to be graphically intensive and since I don’t have my own stock of photographs, I’m dependent on finding open source photos on line. By far the richest trove of Balkan photos online under the Creative Commons and Unsplash licenses have been taken in Bosnia. That of course makes sense. Bosnia is a dramatically beautiful place with iconic monuments like the Mostar Bridge and the village of Višegrad, the setting of Ivo Andric’s Nobel Prize winning novel The Bridge on the Drina.
In any event, we all know that Serbians make great basketball and tennis players. They also make great movies. Hopefully I can share some of my appreciation for them in my new website.
I’ll start with my most recent review, a subtle, complex Serbian homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.