A portrait of the artist as a political dissident : the life and work of Aleksandar Petrović
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Exploration of the influence that politics may have on artists’ creativity has been undertaken by looking at selected works of Yugoslav film director Aleksandar Petrović. An attempt was made to identify thematic or stylistic motifs in his films that could be understood as reflections on the political context in which the work was made. One of the most common approaches to examine a work of one filmmaker, the auteur theory, has been modified into the theory of political auteur, to aid in identifying recurrent motifs and themes that artists introduce in their work as a reaction to the surrounding political reality. As Petrović worked in Yugoslavia during Socialism, this period was historicised in order to support the identification of ‘political motifs’ in his films. The period between 1965 and 1973 is taken as the focus of research, since it is known as the 'liberal hour', the period of great artistic and intellectual freedoms, during which Petrović directed four of his most significant films. Each of these four films is analysed in respective chapters, first by elaborating on the then current political background, and then by analysing the films’ narratives against it, and extrapolating thematic and stylistic motifs reflecting back on this background. Such exploration of art and politics has been undertaken with a view to emphasise consistent motifs in art works, not only to do with an artist’s personal interests, but also those that emerge as a result of imposing societal structures.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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