Makavejev, Dušan (1932–) By Leskosky, Richard J.
Dušan Makavejev is an avant-garde Marxist Serbian filmmaker whose film techniques, exuberant black humour, and sexual and political transgressive themes made him one of the most radical directors of the European New Wave during the 1960s and 1970s. Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Belgrade, Serbia), he was a member of the first generation of anti-Stalinist communists, and he studied psychology at Belgrade University (where he began making short films). While some of Makavejev’s documentary shorts and a 1962 stage-play were politically suppressed, he was nonetheless permitted to advance into feature production. Along with his earlier writings and shorts, his first feature, Čovek nije tica [Man Is Not a Bird] (1965), established him as a leader in the novi film [new film] movement, which championed artistic freedom and experimentation within a Marxist context. Makavejev’s films were characterised by violent outcomes of sexual repression, outrageous humour, variety/carnival acts, satires of both western capitalism and Soviet authoritarianism, surreal images, a philosophy linking sexuality with politics, and a multi-layered mixture of styles and forms which included documentary, found footage, and clips from older features.