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Articles - Open Section

Vol. 10 No. 1 (2024): Fiction, Religion and Politics in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Framing the War: THE CALVARY OF SERBIA (YU 1932/1940): Innovation, Faith, History in the Early Documentary Film

August 20, 2023


This article examines the early documentary film of the Yugoslav space, assessing the innovative deployment of film language to communicate faith and history in the context of the First World War. The pioneering work involved in developing war cinema in the Yugoslav space has been largely overlooked by scholars. The research introduces readers to the rich heritage of such documentary film and encourages new approaches to researching history and religion through this medium. The article is a case study of the documentary film THE CALVARY OF SERBIA (GOLGOTA SRBIJE, Stanislav Krakov, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 1932/1940), which was assembled from various forms of footage and is regarded as the best documentary made in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia prior to the Second World War. Incorporating different modes and codes of representation, THE CALVARY OF SERBIA is a milestone in the development of film language. How the author(s) saw and framed faith and history within the context of the war resulted in a unique cinematic space, in which on-screen and off-screen spaces are (re)negotiated. To examine the language of film is to study film as a historical document, and in this sense this article approaches film as a primary source. Its overarching goal is to advance and enrich scholarly inquiry into early cinema and to introduce novel avenues for accessing documentary film.