1. Lordan Zafranović, Concert (1965), 15’33’’
2. Ivan Martinac, Day of the Dead (1965), 8’33’’
3. Martin Crvelin, Bulldozers Devouring Dirt (1967), 5’22’’
4. Vjekoslav Nakić, L’Abandon (1967), 5’32’’
5. Ante Verzotti, Fluorescencije (1967), 4’26’’
When we talk about the Split Cine Club, we must inevitably look back to the 1960s, the period when the Club became known and for which it is still recognized. It was the time the second generation of authors was active in the Club. In order for us to understand the success of the second generation we need to examine the activity of the first. The first generation of Split Cine Club members (Domić, Bogdanović, Nožica, Kalabris) worked outside then current tendencies of the Yugoslav amateur cinematography. They were responsible, in conjunction with the club’s foundation, for the popularisation of film art in Split, building infrastructure, equipping the projection hall and film laboratory, and recruiting film amateurs and professional staff. In addition to the cinema projectionist and film courses, selected programs were held in the cinema “Stari Grad” at the initiative of Mladen Nožica, the Club’s founder, with Jajčanin, Kečkemet, Biočin, Borčić, etc. providing written commentary. More than 700 screenings were organized, with an estimated number of at least 250,000 visitors. The first generation created just four films, only one of which was finished and preserved (“Carnival at the Foot of Marjan Hill” by Mate Bogdanović, 1955). In late 1950s and early 1960s, the Club was going through a crisis. The crisis coincided with the arrival of Ante Verzotti into the Club and the return of Ivan Martinac to Split from architecture study in Belgrade in 1962.
Martinac returned to Split and brought with him an alternative perspective, a coherent view of film as a medium, a living organism with its own set of rules and unique ideas formulated in its own theoretical discourse. His influence, role and significance are confirmed today by many of the Club’s authors, of his and subsequent generations. For more than twenty years he taught a film course, and he used three important expressions to explain film structure – intense editing, film “cardiogram” and “warmth” of shot. Martinac’s film observations about form – the power of the taped splice and content – the metaphysical quest, lamentation about the purity of frame, enabled other authors to free themselves of the prejudice of conventional film journalism, which was then prevalent among Split cinema amateurs, in favour of creating poetic and artistically conceived films. It was in this period that the concept of the Split Film School was founded.
Together with Ivan Martinac, members of the “golden” generation, and pioneers of the Split Film School were Mihovil Drušković, Lordan Zafranović, Andrija Pivčević, Vjekoslav Nakić, Ante Verzotti, Ranko Kursar, Martin Crvelin, Zvonimir i Krešimir Buljević. Five titles selected for the first presentation of the Club’s activity in the 1960s clearly reflect their point of origin – which joins them in the creative intent to reveal film, strip it bare and clean it, carefully re/structure it, and use a powerful rhythmic game and/or precise exchange of frames to provoke delight and enthusiasm in viewers. Besides their point of origin, these films also share the way they recorded Mediterranean light, the light of Split that left indelible traces on their film tapes, giving them a common atmosphere, but at the same time revealing very different personal poetics and inclinations of the authors.