The Unemployed

Želimir Žilnik

The unemployment problem in a socialist country.

Film was made during the 1967, in times when first unemployment wave emerges as a consequence of ‘economy reforms’, which will few months later lead to entire wave of workers going abroad for work. I was interested in that contradictory situation so I made a film ‘The Unemployed Men and Women’ and dedicated first 10 minutes to men – confused and insulted for being thrown away to the streets no matter of the ‘promises’. Next ten minutes – ‘Unemployed Women’ – are documents about more realistic, female approaches: accepting jobs as cooks, tailors, but also turning away to ‘sex industry’ that was beginning at the time, strippers and working in bars. The reaction was grim at the Film Committee: OK, we have to give jobs to these idlers and make some sense into them - that we can do! But women who have fallen into sex and lust – it’s impossible to get them back on the right track. Cut out the women, Žilnik, or you won’t get the ‘censorship card’! So I went back and I cut the ‘Women’ out thinking there will be a time to negotiate about it. At Belgrade Film Festival ‘Men’ got second award, Grand Prix in Oberhausen, and I left the poor ‘Women’ on the shelve until today. I’ll bring them to Zagreb so we can all see them after 40 years.  Želimir Žilnik


Želimir Žilnik

Želimir Žilnik was born in 1942 in Niš, and he is living and working in Novi Sad, Serbia. He has written and directed numerous fiction and documentary films which have garnered many awards at national and international film festivals. He is one of the pioneers of the docu-drama genre. From the very beginning his films have focussed on contemporary issues, featuring social, political and economic assessments of everyday life: Newsreel on Village Youth, in Winter (1967), Little Pioneers (1968), The Unemployed (1968), June Turmoil (1969), Black Film (1971), Uprising in Jazak (1973). Žilnik’s fiction debut Early Works (1969) won the Golden Bear at Berlinale and four awards at Pula Film Festival. In 1995 his film Marble Ass won the prestigious Teddy Award at Berlinale. ZagrebDox has screened Žilnik’s films Logbook Serbistan (2015), Pirika on Film (2013) and Europe Next Door (2005), which won the Big Stamp. He was an International Jury member at ZagrebDox 2019. Žilnik’s latest films are The Most Beautiful Country in the World (2018) and Among the People: Life & Acting (2018).

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1968, 13', bw, 35 mm

Directed by:
Želimir Žilnik

Screenplay by:
Želimir Žilnik

Petar Latinović

Edited by:
Milica Poličević

Produced by:
Neoplanta Film