Hollywood spirit in Montenegro

  • By Luštica Bay
  • 07 Aug, 2017

Montenegro film festival is a traditional event that is held each year from 1-7 August. 

Herceg Novi is known as “The City of Film”, not only because some of the famous film entrepreneurs lived and worked here, but also because dozens of them originate from this very place. The head office of “Lovćen Film” used to be here, and several films were shot somewhere in Herceg Novi or near it.

The existence of film in Herceg Novi does not start with the 1987 Film Festival. This fact is illustrated by many examples and we will look into a few of them. For example, as early as in 1922, Perčinović family was running a cinema, and on 4th and 5th February 1933, a soundtrack film was shown for the first time in the hall of The Public Dome. It was the Metro-Goldy’s film “The Love of Mihail Petrov”, and there is a nice record of this event in “The Voice of Boka” magazine from 11th February 1933.

Venue of Montenegro Film Festival

Between the two world wars, two famous photographers-Josip Jelaksa and Feliks Laforest lived in Herceg Novi; the former trained Anton Lukateli, and the latter was the teacher of Stevo Lepetić. After the Second World War, Lukateli was the chief executive of the Cinematography Deparment at The Ministry of Education of Montenegro in Cetinje, while Lepetić was shooting for “Mjesečnik”, the monthly journal of all film events in the Republic, issued by the Ministry. The presentation of the first issue took place in Cetinje, on 28th December 1948.

Laforest had a 16mm camera and he did many sessions in Herceg Novi, as Stevo Lepetić recalls. One of the films shot by his camera still exists in the film-archives, and it is “King Aleksandar in Herceg Novi”, made before the king’s fatal departure to France, at the beginning of October 1934.

Herceg Novi was the place where the head office of Lovćen Film was situated in the period from 1952 to 1955. Lovćen Film is the first Montenegrian company for film production and distribution set up in Cetinje in March 1949. The first Managing Director of the first film company was Simo Čolović from Herceg Novi, still living here.

“I have been professionally bound to film since 1945 when I became the manager of the traveling cinema in Montenegro. And when the decision was made for me to be the manager of Lovćen Film, I was pleasantly surprised, but it also demanded a great responsibility”, says Simo Čolović.

While Lovćen Film was situated here, several films were made in Herceg Novi. Velimir Velja Stojanović and Ratko Đurović, a director and screenplay writer, made several films related to the subjects from the costal part of Montenegro: “The Dead City” (1952), “Interweaved Streams” (1954), “Our Dungeon Days”… Together with Vladeta Lukić, Velja Stojanović in 1953 made the film trilogy about Mamula Island called “The Song for the Slave”, which is considered to be among the first experimental films in Yugoslavia.

“The first feature film of the young Montenegrin cinematography “Šćepan the Little”, the work of the creative tandem of Velja Stojanović and Ratko Đurović started its journey to the world screens in Herceg Novi”, said the director of the Film Institute from Belgrade, Mr Predrag Golubović, at the opening of The Third Yugoslav Festival of Film Directing in Herceg Novi. Ratko Đurović wrote the screenplays for the following films: “Four Kilometers per Hour” (1958), “Campo Mamula” (1959), “The Battle on Neretva” (1969), and “Red Impact” (1959). Velja Stojanović directed the first two of these films.

The famous cameraman Aleksandar Sekulović (1918-1978) was also from Herceg Novi. He shot 15 films: “Immortal Youth” (1948), “Municipal Child” (1953), “Anika’s Times” (1954), “The Big and The Little” (1956), “On Saturday Evenings” (1957), “That Night” (1958), “Alone” (1959), “Campo Mamula” (1959), “Siberian Lady Magbeth” (1962), “Radopolje” (1963), “The Inspector” (1965), “The Time of Love” (1966), “Boxers Go to Heaven” (1967), “When Pigeons Fly” (1968), “Downstream From the Sun” (1969).

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