About the Art of Love or a Film with 14441 Frames (1972)
About the Art of Love or a Film with 14441 Frames Karpo Godina Slovenia/Macedonia35mm > digital11 min1972
Originally commissioned by the Yugoslav People’s Army (1945–1992), About the Art of Love or a Film with 14441 Frames has become legendary in global cinema circles. This is partly due to the film’s long-term censorship, but also to the relatively rare frequency with which it was screened before being jointly restored by the Austrian Film Museum and the Slovenian Cinematheque in 2016. Another reason might be the comically violent method through which its military producers attempted to ensure the film’s ultimate destruction and suppression: by literally chopping it to pieces with an ax. As the story goes, based on an early written treatment by the director, Godina was afforded astonishing resources and uncompromised access to complete the project, including thousands of soldiers, dozens of tanks, airplanes, and other military capital designed for “battlefield mobility.” Replete with a playfully subversive soundtrack by the Vranešević Brothers (and accomplices), About the Art of Love was masterfully shot between a military garrison and the adjacent small town of Saramzalino, in what is today known as the Republic of North Macedonia. One can imagine the results the army must have expected from Godina at the time: a propaganda tool of epic proportions, or at least a favourable depiction of the YPA, whose origins can be found in the anti-fascist activities of the Yugoslav Partisans during World War II. Years later Godina quipped: “The army asked me to make an official military film. Instead I made one that said: ‘make love, not war’ … I was able to save one print.”
This film is available to stream globally.
This film is co-presented with the Slovenian Cinematheque.
Image credits: all artworks, stills, and portraits courtesy of the artist © Karpo Godina, the Slovenian Cinematheque, and the Austrian Film Museum. Special thanks to Darja Hlavka Godina, Jurij Meden, and Kaja Bohorč.
about the artist
Karpo Godina (Slovenia/Macedonia) is a filmmaker, teacher, and political activist born in Skopje in 1943 to father Viktor Aćimović, a photographer, journalist, bohemian, and revolutionary, and mother Milena Godina, an actress and co-founder of the Macedonian State Theatre. He spent his childhood and adolescence between Skopje and Maribor. He studied film at the Ljubljana Academy for Theatre, Radio, Film and Television. Godina’s films contain an all-permeating sense of playfulness and joy, and a continuous display of unhinged freedom of expression, squarely targeted against all forms of repression. He has worked on 50+ films since the early 1960s, and is considered one of the key representatives of Black Wave cinema, a socio-critical movement that emerged in Yugoslavia in the early 1960s. Extraordinarily prolific, as a cinematographer Godina has shot numerous films that have helped define 20th century European Cinema, including Early Works (1969) and Black Film (1971), both by his long-term friend and collaborator Želimir Žilnik, along with other challenging and subversive titles such as The Role of My Family in the World Revolution (1971) and Life of a Shock Force Worker (1972) by Bato Čengić. His own films, including Universal Sun (1967), Healthy People for Fun (1971), The Raft of the Medusa (1980), Red Boogie (1982), and Artificial Paradise (1990), have been exhibited widely at festivals, museums, and galleries internationally, including Cannes, Berlinale, BFI London Film Festival, Museum of Modern Art, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Stanford University, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Slovenian Cinematheque, Austrian Film Museum, Media City Film Festival, National Gallery of Art (Washington), and Lisbon Cinematheque, among others. He received the Prešeren Fund Award (1980), and Grand Prešeren Award for Lifetime Achievement (2006), Slovenia’s highest decoration in the fields of artistic and scientific pursuit. Media City Film Festival’s Chrysalis Fellowship is providing support for a forthcoming feature created in collaboration with Želimir Žilnik. He lives and works with his wife Darja in Slovenia.