Innocence Unprotected

"Very Good"

Innocence Unprotected Review


World cinema knows few greater oddities than Dusan Makavejev's Innocence Unprotected, a strange documentary about the first talkie made in Serbia -- intercut with the entire film itself.

In 1942, during Hitler's occupation of Yugoslavia, "strongman" Dragoljub Aleksic (pictured below) was featured in a film that put his physical prowess on display in a romantic thriller (think Jean-Claude Van Damme today). The simple story told one of Aleksic rescuing a girl from a bully of a suitor and evil stepmother, all thanks to his ability to balance on tightropes, hang from airplanes with his mouth, and bite through steel chains with his teeth (which it turns out he really can do).

Makavejev reassembles the cast of the original film 25 years later to discuss its making and, notably, to get an aged Aleksic, who has survived a fall from 60 feet, to show off his stunts once again. The footage of old and new -- plus green-tinged WWII newsreel coverage of the war -- is all chopped together into a salad of cinema bizarre, the likes of which I can't say I've ever seen. Makavejev even hand-tints some of the props in the original film to give it an even more surreal look (think brilliant red lips in an otherwise black & white field).

To be sure, Aleksic's original film is not work of art -- the actors' heads are rarely in frame and the acting is pretty atrocious -- but this unique look at Serbicana is something that any real cinema buff is going to want to see, if for no other reason that to say that you have.

Aka Nevinost bez Zastite.

Tug of war.



Innocence Unprotected

Facts and Figures

Run time: 75 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd October 1992

Distributed by: Criterion Collection

Production compaines: Avala Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 8

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Himself, as Petrovic, as Wicked Stepmother, as Orphan Nada, as Servant, as Aleksic's Brother

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