Slovenian tall tale recalls a land that time forgot.
Does anyone still remember Yugoslavia? It is a quarter of a century since its six Balkan republics splintered apart, setting off a bloody civil war that created the nations we now know more or less as Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and eventually Kosovo. It might take a fairly longer memory to recall Yugoslavia’s one-time leader, Josip Broz Tito. Tito was the Eastern European communist dictator who managed to stave off its centuries-old religious and ethnic divisions until his death.
Even now, many still revere Marshal Tito as a stern nationalist father figure.
In the former Yugoslavia, even now, many still revere Marshal Tito as a stern nationalist father figure; his words and deeds still endlessly argued and analysed in the media. In the West, Tito was acclaimed as a friendly proponent of neutral non-alignment, a Second World War guerilla hero who performed a delicate Cold War balancing act between the United States and the former Soviet Union. Hailed as practicing ‘socialism with a human face’, Tito enjoyed the economic goodwill of several US presidents from John F. Kennedy to Jimmy Carter; a beneficiary of billions in American aid that propped up his regime for decades. Though the arts in Yugoslavia benefited from a degree of liberalisation, most dissent was squelched by security forces or the threat of being sent off to the notorious Goli otok prison camp.
Slovenian filmmaker Ziga Virc was born in 1987, seven years after Tito’s death, and four years before the ten day war which brought about independence for his homeland. Like many of his generation, Virc was raised on the Yugoslav myth, running the gamut from fiction and documentary film images to homegrown conspiracy theory. Grappling with this weighty heritage, Ziga and his co-writer Bostjan Virc, have crafted Houston, We Have a Problem!, a docu-fiction (their phrase) hybrid of found footage and satirical re-enactment that fabricates a very tantalizing what if.
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