Interviewed in Zagreb on 28 June 2016
A Solin-born Bogdan Žižić who spent his childhood among the excavated finds of the ancient city of Salona was a student of the famous Split Classical High School, a lawyer whose first film was made in 1964 as a documentation of the great flood of Zagreb. There followed about a hundred documentaries and short films, as well as five feature films. Some of them such as Kuća (The House) and Ne naginji se van (Do Not Lean Out) won the then top award – the Golden Arena at the Pula Film Festival. His documentaries were awarded at international festivals such in Krakow, Oberhausen, Venice, and Barcelona. While in his documentary films the most important thing was not the representation of a real phenomenon – he rather shaped them like living metaphors – in his feature films he was interested in social conditions and relations between society and the individual. However, the body of work of Bogdan Žižić is nowhere near being completed; his filmmaking is still a work in progress.
ORIS — The fact that you grew up and spent your childhood in Solin has played a considerable role in your formation: especially the vicinity of Salona, as your grandfather, Ante Žižić, was among the closest collaborators of Don Frane Bulić. One might say that this closeness and presence of antiquity, and the greatness of classical culture, has partly shaped your image of the world.
Bogdan Žižić — It has certainly exerted a strong influence. I can still remember some fifteen epitaphs from the sarcophagi of Solin, I know them by heart in both Latin and Croatian. And as you have said, it is the fact that I spent my childhood in that atmosphere, in those localities. The amphitheatre, the theatre, the forum, and the early Christian area, which the Danish archaeologist Ejnar Dyggve called Urbs nova – the New City. Yesterday I finished my documentary on Dyggve for the tv, that I was shooting mostly in Solin, a bit in Split as well, as he had left his trace there. Next to the theatre, between Our Lady of Health and the Croatian National Theatre in Split, there is the Conservation Department of the Ministry of Culture named after Cvito Fisković, whom I knew very well. Its manager and several curators participated in the making of this film. In this way, we have paid homage to the Danish researcher who came to this region as an architect and left as a first-class archaeologist. That was my childhood, not to mention that it was during the war, which meant isolation, as people didn’t let their children go outside. It was too dangerous. Everyone was armed. So we hunted lizards and snakes around the archaeological site… The second part of my Solin childhood I spent next to the river, which is nowadays more visible as the new town, the old Croatian Solin, has evolved alongside.