Spectacle | 124 South 3rd St.
aka CRNI BOMBARDER
Dir by Darko Bajic, 1992.
Serbia, 116 min.
In Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles.
CRNI BOMBARDER/THE BLACK BOMBER upon its release it a disintegrated Yugoslavia in the midst of the ravages of war became an allegory for resistance among the youth of Belgrade’s artistic and counter-culture set who had faced violent repression by Slobodan Milosevic’s political regime. In many ways it foreshadowed the resistance to come in the forms of OTPOR! and the guerilla theater of the Serbian protest movements of the late 90’s.
The film, set in a dystopian cityscape, is meant to represent a Milosevic-era Belgrade strewn with barricades, martial law and other trappings of wartime. Blackie, an amnesiac radio DJ is finds himself censored by the government, he begins to push the boundaries of acceptable programming. He soon finds himself being chased by nationalist gunmen and the secret police and in the midst of an increasingly self-destructive attempt to speak truth to power. In the process, he sparks a romance with Luna, played by Ana Dobric, a ferocious punk singer who is waging an internal battle between creatively resisting the regime at home with like-minded rebels like Blackie or artistically thriving in self-imposed exile. After he is forced out of his home-base in the national radio station Blackie finally takes to the streets in an unmarked van, the Black Bomber to broadcast a pirate radio program in the midst of widespread repression and civil unrest of the capital, unintentionally sparking a youth uprising and becoming the voice of youth resistance in the form of his radio persona “The Walking Ghost”.
Not far enough away from reality to be science fiction and not far enough from Hollywood forms to escape tropes of romance this film nonetheless captures the miasma of a generation of ex-Yugoslavs caught between political conflicts in a nation divided, yet still struggling to remain young and alive.
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