Cinematography Commission of the Government of People’s Republic of Croatia (1947-1951)
The collection includes documents created or collected by the Cinematography Commission of the Government of People's Republic of Croatian in period 1947-1951, which testify to control over motion picture production by the communist regime established in Yugoslavia/Croatia after the Second World War. Such control was manifested through Party and state management of film production companies, the approval of screenplays, supervision of the import and distribution of motion pictures for screening in cinemas, and verification of the ideological suitability of qualified personnel (directors, producers, film editors, actors).
Zagreb Trg Marka Marulića 21, Croatia 10000
Show on map
Name of collection
HR-HDA-309. Cinematography Commission of the Government of People's Republic of Croatia (1947-1951)
Provenance and cultural activities
The communist government established in Yugoslavia/Croatia after World War II actively used culture and the arts to further its political and ideological objectives (Šarić 2011, p. 116). The imposed direction in culture and the arts was socialist realism. Cultural and artistic creativity that did not comply with the criteria imposed by the Communist Party was subjected to political critique (Šarić 2010, p. 393). The most important goal set in culture was the “people's enlightenment.” Besides dealing with cultural backwardness, by widening the network of cultural institutions and the range of users, it also entailed the elimination of any remnants of ideological opposition, providing (re-)education in the socialist spirit and engendering an awareness of the meaning and advantages of the socialist system (Beus 2016, p. 254).
To achieve such objectives, a branching system of Party and state bodies, mass political organisations, cultural-educational and cultural-artistic associations was established (Spehnjak 2002, p. 166). Supreme authority in implementation of cultural policy was reserved for Party bodies, especially the Agitation and Propaganda (Agitprop) Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CC CPY) and equivalent bodies in the republic-level Party committees. Furthermore, state authorities formally charged with the administration of cultural and artistic activities and organization and oversight of cultural and artistic organisations, were established.
The new communist regime recognized film as very useful media for the transmission of political and ideological messages, i. e. “people's enlightenment” in the socialist spirit. Therefore, in spite of the state's difficulties in the early post-war years (food shortages, reconstruction of war-torn areas, etc.), state cinematography in Yugoslavia received significant support.
Under the aegis of Agitprop, the Theatre and Film Section was in charge of the motion picture industry (Šarić 2010, p. 391; Lučić 2015, p. 21). Under formal state administration, Yugoslav cinematography was organized by the state film company and its subsidiaries in the federal units until June 1946. After reorganisation, the Cinematography Commission of the Government of Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was established with the intent of functioning as the supreme state administrative body responsible for the development of Yugoslav cinematography. It included a special artistic advisory council charged with the approval of screenplays and the selection of production teams for specific screenplays (Lučić 2015, p. 17-19). Besides proposed themes and screenplays, draft versions of completed motion pictures were sent to the federal Cinematography Commission for verification and authorisation (HR-HDA-309. Cinematography Commission of the Government of People's Republic of Croatia, file conf. 38/1948). In April 1949, the Film Review Commission was also established within the federal Cinematography Commission. It continued the censorship of motion pictures for public consumption conducted in the immediate post-war period by the state motion picture company’s own censorship board (Dojčinović s. a., p. VII).
In the federal units, cinematography commissions were established within the republic-level governments to perform such activities. The General Secretariat of the Government of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia sent instructions on this matter to all republic governments on 13 May 1947 (HR-HDA-309. CC of the Government of PRC, file conf. 395/1947). In a letter dated 4 September 1947, the federal government’s Cinematography Commission instructed the Education Ministry of the People's Republic of Croatia to organise the Artistic Advisory Council as soon as possible, which would then transition into the Cinematography Commission after its establishment. The instructions explained that this advisory council, “composed of the best writers, critics, visual artists, composers and architects, is tasked with advising the Cinematography Commission in the preparation of annual production schedules for film companies, evaluating motion picture screenplays, delivering opinions on test recordings of actors and raw edited films, and submitting final assessments of completed domestic films” (HR-HDA-309. CC of the Government of PRC, file conf. 38/1948).
The Cinematography Commission of the PRC Government was established by the Directive adopted on 20 August 1947. Its formal authority encompassed administration of cinematography and motion picture distribution in Croatia, the preparation and development of cinematography and motion picture distribution, oversight of state motion picture production and distribution companies, training and specialization of qualified personnel (Narodne novine [Croatia’s official journal], no. 86, 1947). In the performance of such tasks, the Cinematography Commission regularly consulted the federal Cinematography Commission and the Croatian Communist Party’s Agitprop Department and acted on their instructions. The Commission was active until January 1951, when its activities, except operational administration over film companies, were assumed by the Croatian Science and Culture Ministry. Operational management of film companies was transferred to these companies and to economic associations in film and cinematography companies, according to specific regulations (Narodne novine, no. 2, 1951).
The Cinematography Commission's preserved documents testify to control over the motion picture production exercised by the communist regime established in Yugoslavia/Croatia after the Second World War. Such control was manifested through Party and state management of motion picture production companies (Jadran film; the film distribution company; Nastavni film), approval of screenplays, supervision of the import and distribution of motion pictures for screening in cinemas, and verification of the ideological suitability of qualified personnel (directors, producers, film editors, actors).
The collection was transferred to the Croatian State Archives in Zagreb on an ex officio basis from the government of the time, the Executive Council of the Parliament of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, in 1988. The documents are publicly available, without any particular restrictions. They were used in recent research such as the master's thesis Ideološka tranzicija filmske kulture u Hrvatskoj od 1945. do 1948. (Ideological transition of film culture in Croatia from 1945 to 1948) written in 2015 by Renata Lučić at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Zagreb.
Description of content
The collection includes documents (two archival boxes) created or collected by the Cinematography Commission of the Government of People's Republic of Croatia in period 1947-1951 which testify to the control over the movie production exercised by the communist regime established in Yugoslavia/Croatia after Second World War. Such control was manifested through Party and state management of motion picture production companies (Jadran film; the film distribution company; Nastavni film), approval of screenplays, supervision of the import and distribution of motion pictures for screening in cinemas, and verification of the ideological suitability of qualified personnel (directors, producers, film editors, actors).
In its reports to the state and Communist Party authorities on the staff structure of the Commission itself and film companies under its jurisdiction, the Cinematography Commission also political affiliations in detail. It exchanged personnel files (‘characteristics’) of qualified professionals (directors, producers, film editors, actors) with the Croatian Communist Party’s Agitprop Department, placing special emphasis on their political attitudes or “insufficient class consciousness” (HR-HDA-309. CC of the Government of PRC, file str. conf. 2/1950). To the communist regime, “insufficient class consciousness” meant a wide range of behaviours which deviated from the norm, i. e., which maintained characteristics that the communists associated with bourgeois traditions.
For example, in letter to the Cinematography Commission dated 1 February 1949, Jadran film's acting director Kosta Hlavaty wrote that “the Communist Party organisation in the company significantly increased,” so he proposed that the secretary of such Party organisation should be professionalized, i. e. relieved of all other duties. Specifically, he proposed that the secretary of the Party organisation should be appointed to the post of second secretary of the company Jadran film, “with an exclusively Party function” (HR-HDA-309. CC of the Government of PRC, file st. conf. 11/1949).
The genuine control exercised by the Communist Party over the Cinematography Commission of the Government of PRC and the companies under its formal jurisdiction is further illustrated by the Commission's report sent on 13 January 1950 to Cinematography Commission of the Government of the FPRY. It describes the results of oversight of Jadran film's activities conducted by a special commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Croatia which held session at the Cinematography Commission. A result of that campaign was the dismissal of several “suspect individuals,” including producers Ivo Tomulić, Ante Mladineo and Melita Filipović. They were assessed as unsuitable because of “an unhealthy attitude toward production, which was reflected through the spread of scepticism about the capability of the system, undermining authority and sloppiness in their work,” as well as their “problematic pasts.” Also underscored was their “unhealthy ambition” and negative influence on the working environment, with a lack of potential for further professional development as producers (HR-HDA-309. CC of the Government of PRC, file st. conf. 1/1950).
The control exercised by the Communist Party and state authorities over the import and distribution of motion pictures for screening in cinemas, as well as subordination of the film repertoire to political and ideological needs are illustrated by correspondence between the Cinematography Commission of the Government of PRC and Cinematography Commission of the Government of the FPRY in December 1950 on the presentation of Soviet films. Films produced in communist Yugoslavia until 1948 were based on the principle of socialist realism inspired by the USSR. The entire film industry developed under the ideological principles which directed the newly established state towards Marxist and socialist cinematography (Lučić 2015, p. 23). Accordingly, cinema repertoires were dominated by films from the USSR, while the influence of movies from Western countries, which were also screened, remained slight. After the Tito-Stalin Split (Yugoslav-Soviet Split) in 1948, Soviet movies stayed on cinema repertoires across Yugoslavia, but with increasing competition from Western, especially American movies (Lučić 2015, p. 71). In a specific case, the Cinematography Commission informed Cinematography Commission of the Government of the FPRY of findings that film audiences were “protesting against the screening of particular Soviet films,” and that “a certain confusion” was caused by some scenes in domestic documentaries in which photographs of Stalin could be seen. While these film were “approved by the censors, but audiences were protesting against Soviet films,” the Cinematography Commission asked for urgent instructions as to whether it should any Soviet films should be removed from the cinema repertoire, and if so, which ones (HR-HDA-309. CC of the Government of PRC, file st. conf. 32/1950).
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 10-99
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Show on map
Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Author(s) of this page
Beus, Marina. 2016. “Prosvjetna politika u službi ideološkoga pre/odgoja u Hercegovini (1945.-1952.) [Educational policy in the service of social reform of education in Herzegovina (from 1945 to 1952)].” Hercegovina: Časopis za kulturno i povijesno naslijeđe (Mostar), 2: 249-285.
Dojčinović, Slobodanka. S. A. Savezna komisija za pregled filmova 1949-1971 (1944-1971): sumarno-analitički inventar [Federal Film Review Commission 1949-1971 (1944-1971): summary-analytical inventory]. Belgrade: Arhiv Jugoslavije.
HR-HDA-309. Komisija za kinematografiju pri Vladi Narodne Republike Hrvatske (arhivski fond) [HR-HDA-309. Cinematography Commission of the Government of People's Republic of Croatia (archival collection)].
HR-HDA-1394. Zbirka filmskih plakata hrvatskog filma [HR-HDA-1394. Collection of posters for Croatian motion pictures (archival collection)].
Lučić, Renata. “Ideološka tranzicija filmske kulture u RH od 1945. do 1948. [Ideological transition of film culture in Croatia from 1945 to 1948].” Diplomski rad, Filozofski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, 2015.
Majcen, Vjekoslav. 1987. “Tito i filmska baština [Tito and film heritage].” Arhivski vjesnik (Zagreb), 31: 7-14.
Spehnjak, Katarina. 2002. Javnost i propaganda: Narodna fronta u politici i kulturi Hrvatske 1945. – 1952. [The Public and Propaganda: People's Front in Politics and Culture in Croatia, 1945-1952]. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest – Dom i svijet.
Šarić, Tatjana. 2010. “Djelovanje Agitpropa prema književnom radu i izdavaštvu u NRH, 1945-1952. [Agitprop activity with regard to literary work and publishing in the People's Republic of Croatia in 1945-1952].” RADOVI – Zavod za hrvatsku povijest (Zagreb), 42: 387-423.
Šarić, Tatjana. 2011. “Matica hrvatska u prvim poslijeratnim godinama (1945-1948) [Matrix Croatica in the early post-war years (1945-1948)].” Arhivski vjesnik (Zagreb), 54: 115-140.
Uredba o Komisiji za kinematografiju [Directive on the Cinematography Commission], Narodne novine NRH [Official Journal of the PRC], no. 86, 1947.
Uredba o ukidanju Komisije za kinematografiju pri Vladi Narodne Republike Hrvatske [Directive on Dissolution of the Cinematography Commission of the Government of People's Republic of Croatia], Narodne novine NRH [Official Journal of the PRC], no. 2, 1951.
Wikipedia.org. “Ciguli Miguli (1952.).” Accessed on 21 October 2018.