Cinephilia & Beyond

“Croatians love Film” is a bold statement. Too absolute to be true, with evidence as flimsy as one of the dames in a Raymond Chandler novel. Here is my evidence:

On one hand, there is, a collection of short films, documentaries, and feature films you can watch online for free. It is related to the Zagreb Film Festival, which would be another indicator for my initial claim, if not for the fact that every capital in the EU has a film festival (probably part of the conditions to become a member).

On the other hand, Cinephilia & Beyond. What has started as a blog of five Croatian cinephiles (see their Tumblr-blog archive) became a treasure trove of deep dives into the ocean that is filmmaking.

The navigation for the site is a bit shite (as the Brits like to exclaim). They use the categories (“Interviews”, “Screenwriting”, etc) to teaser what content will be found in the linked articles but they hardly help with navigating the large archive the writers have already amassed. This won’t matter much, because once you have subscribed to their RSS-feed you will count the days until the next entry pops up.

I searched for “Batman”, found two relevant examples (you have the choice between Tim Burton’s version or Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”) and will use those to convince you to do just that (subscribing to their feed that is).

Every article starts with an introductory essay about the movie written by one of the aforementioned quintet or from their cast of guest authors. This is followed by an assortment of excerpts from interviews (text and video), books, and articles from the filmcrew. If you have time on your hands, you can read one version of the full script (often more), embedded as a PDF. Finally, the large, high-def behind-the-scenes shots that are scattered throughout the page are collected in a gallery at the bottom of the page. And when all is read and viewed there are links, so many links to most if not all of their sources.

All this is done for most of the movies they review. The archive includes smaller items, but they stay true to the formular described above for the recent (i.e. the last four to five years) entries.

A final note on the films reviewed. I’m not sure if “classics” would be a good descriptor, but all the usual suspects (excluding “The Usual Suspects”) of US-centric cinema are there. You’ve got your Scorcese, Mann, Coens, Lynch, Kubrick, Spielberg, et al. The occasional outliers in Neil Marshall’s works “Descent” and “Dog Soldiers” and some interesting omissions like Tarantino. Interspersed are real classics like “Metropolis” or Hitchcock. And these names were just plucked from the first few pages of their archive!