20 January 2010 | dima-12
Overlooked little gem
"Erogena zona" by Dejan Karaklajic is a neat and multi-layered urban melodrama that beautifully depicts the tensions of post-Titoist Yugoslavia in the early 80s. It was released one year after Tito died and it is pretty obvious that you can see traces of consumerism and proto-capitalist tendencies in Yugoslav society that began in the 70s. At this time, Yugoslava, a lot like the characters of this film already drive BMWs, play tennis and dream of private ownership over companies. Still, there are economic behemoths of Tito's heyday like the poultry factory that employs the central character Moca, but even those companies act a lot like some sinister corporations from a 1970s movie with Robert Redford than 50s Yugoslav films that glorified industrialization.
After the so-called Black Wave of the 60s and 70s, Yugoslav cinema was flooded by characters who had no education and employment. The new generation of directors educated in Prague changed that climate by introducing a gallery of characters who had university degrees and yet found it it difficult to find their way in Yugoslav society, even if they were employed. "Erogena zona" so vividly depicts such contradictions. Karaklajic studied film in Belgrade and yet his screenplay was polished by Goran Markovic and Rajko Grlic who were both alumni of Prague Film School and it shows.
"Erogena zona" was Karaklajic's second feature film. His debut "Ljubavni zivot Budimira Trajkovica" was a huge commercial hit and allegedly it was one of Tito's favorite movies. "Erogena zona" however was deemed a failure and Karaklajic quite directing after it. It's a big loss because "Erogena zona" is underrated in many aspects including the masterful use of Milan Gutovic in the leading role. Gutovic became extremely popular later on in some populist comedies bit in this film he shows some classy action chops and excellent underplay.
"Erogena zona" is one of the Yugoslav films from the 80s that deserves to be rediscovered.