The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, May 13-19

05/13/2015 8:50 AM |

innocence unprotected

Innocence Unprotected (1968)
Directed by Dušan Makavejev
Belgrade-born Makavejev captured life at a crucial juncture for the former Yugoslavia, and Innocence Unprotected may be his sliest, most cynical statement. Ostensibly, the film is a documentary about the same-titled first Serbian-language talkie, directed by and starring athlete and all-around übermensch Dragoljub Aleksic. Under the surface, however, broils an essay of unrivaled cunning, on the subject of fascism and “artistic” hubris. Newsreel footage of war-ravaged streets strewn with bodies fuses with images of Aleksic’s performing acrobatic stunts for a public he always imagined were adoring. Aleksic offered his perfect body as a weapon to protect the disenfranchised, but his altruism was as much a performance as his hanging out of planes by his teeth. Makavejev gleefully papers over the divide between perception and reality in montage encompassing music hall performances, biographical non-sequiturs, and bizarrely confessional performances from Aleksic’s surviving cast and crew. Scout Tafoya (May 19, 7pm, 9pm at BAM’s “Experimental Cinema in Eastern Europe, 1960-1990”)