Written by on 2024-07-07

The Uruguayan premiere of the feature-length drama documentary film “Vitić pleše” directed and written by Boris Bakal, and recently deceased co-writer and editor Martin Semenčić, will be on July 12, 2024, at 6:30 PM in the famous seaside resort of Punta del Este at the 17th Cine Del Mar Film Festival.

Every year for the past 17 years, the CINE DEL MAR International Film Festival has been held in Punta del Este (Uruguay), which began as a modest showcase of Mercosur films and grew into the major international festival it is today. With more than 90 films from 24 countries, the event promises to be a space of culture and attraction of the most varied themes and, above all, truly independent film material made with absolute creative freedom.

The festival will be held from July 10 to 14, at the emblematic and renovated facilities of the Municipality of Punta del Este, on Gorlero Avenue and 30th Street (Las Focas), thus paying a new tribute to the 117th anniversary of the foundation of this famous seaside resort, in order to recall the times when Gorlero Avenue was home to more than 10 luxury movie theaters, all full and with exclusive international film programming.

With two top-notch film halls (“Benito Stern” and “Biblioteca”) and free admission for all screenings and activities, the event is a true counterpoint: an independent film festival held in the middle of winter and in the main seaside resort of Uruguay.

For this edition, the festival will host Argentine filmmakers Axel Cheb Terrab (director of “El tropezón”), Walter Tejblum (director of “En la cabeza de papá”), and Pablo De Vita (journalist and critic of the newspaper La Nación, who will also give a lecture on cinema), as well as Uruguayan filmmakers Oskar Vidal (Los Adioses) and Israel Mirenda (El actor), and other artists from Brazil and the United States whose names will be confirmed later.

The Cine Del Mar festival annually awards the JORGE JELLINEK award for the best film productions in several categories: Jury Awards and Audience Awards, in memory of this important Uruguayan journalist, film critic, film selector and programmer, and actor. Apart from the informative section, with news and informative samples, there will be the traditional official competition of short films of all kinds and numerous feature-length fiction and documentary films.

The film “Vitić pleše” follows, for almost 15 years, the eponymous community art project by Boris Bakal and Bacači sjenki, which tries to bring the community of co-owners together for the joint restoration of the modernist architectural masterpiece of architect Ivo Vitić using various conceptual artistic means. The film had its world premiere at the 19th ZagrebDox and has since been screened at festivals in Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, India, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Italy, Malta, and Ecuador. At the 32nd Days of Croatian Film, “Vitić pleše” was awarded a Special Mention, at the festival in Stockholm a Special Award for Preservation of Memory and Cultural Heritage, and at festivals in India (Ahmednagar) and Ecuador (San Antonio de Ibarra) it was proclaimed the best documentary film of the festival. At the festival in London, it won three awards: for the best film, best production, and best direction.

After this Uruguayan premiere, further distribution in cinemas in the Republic of Croatia will follow, as well as presentations at about 10 domestic and international film festivals just in 2024.

From the media: “Bakal develops a film with a skyscraper as the main character, which turns out to be part of a broader activist engagement and a re-establishment of awareness of infrastructure in the service of the community; in short, it affirms all those values that are in contemporary debates maliciously denounced as the atavism of socialist heritage…. “Vitić pleše” is the best reminder of a corrupt environment and a community forcibly organized based on the law of the stronger. Bakal, on the other hand, transforms concrete activism, in terms of relocating to the location and developing empowering practices among the actors, into a dynamic film full of twists, documenting a period of about fifteen years.” Iva Rosandić, “Vitić pleše – Dance against the system”, Dokumentarni.net, 07.04.2023.

“The film’s theme is very important because it shows not only how artists, i.e., individuals from culture, encourage and try to achieve the protection and restoration of valuable protected cultural monuments, therefore, an individual for the common good, for the community, but also how the system in the state, whose task it is, does not do it. Thus, it becomes a metaphor for many such cases, but also reveals different interests and interpersonal relationships.” Marijana Jakovljević, Glas Koncila, “Documentary from Vitić’s skyscraper – An individual for the community”, 27.05.2023.

“Yet, the film’s message is far from dark. Above all, it is an ode to active coexistence, solidarity, community, and all those ideas that Bakal recognized in the dancing façade twenty years ago. And the documentary does not mark the end of the story – it only rounds off one of its chapters – and Vitić will continue to dance.” Andrea Stanić, “Social choreography behind the dancing façade”, Kulturpunkt, 09.05.2023.

“Filmed mostly in and around the building, often at tenants’ meetings, vividly edited – the co-writer (with Bakal) and editor is Martin Semenčić – often carried by a rapid jazz composition Be-Bop by Dizzy Gillespie All Stars, the dynamic film content-wise, dedicatedly, enthusiastically, convincingly, but without denouncing and finger-pointing, depicts the agony of a long, (too) complicated, exhausting process that drags on due to incompetence, irresponsibility, negligence, vanity, malice… and perhaps greed. Human nature? There are honest, hardworking, and well-meaning people, but too few to cope with the simply much more numerous, and generally more stubborn and persistent wrongdoers for whom it is actually easier, because it is harder, isn’t it, to build and strive than to destroy and obstruct.” Janko Heidl, “It is easier to destroy than to build”, Vijenac no. 765, June 29, 2023.

“Like the architect’s wife Nada who danced through life with her husband, Bakal dances with Vitić’s house, a paradigmatic example of Croatian modernism. His move to temporarily move into Vitić’s building, in order to patiently build an atmosphere of community and restoration on the spot in a house that is literally falling apart, is almost unrealistically humanistic.” – Marina Pavković, economist and doctor of architecture, FB after the Šibenik premiere of the film, February 21, 2024.

Director: Boris Bakal
Screenwriters: Boris Bakal, [Martin Semenčić]
Cameramans: Adam Luka Turjak, Ante Cvitanović, Bojana Burnać, Bojan Haron Markičević, Boris Bakal, Damjan Nenadić, Danko Vučinović, David Oguić, Davorin Fahn, Dubravka Kurobaša, Filip Tot, Ines Lambert, Jadran Boban, Jasenko Rasol, Katarina Pejović, Lovro Cepelak, Mark Modrić, Rino Barbir, Sandra Uskoković, Plakor Kovačević, Srđan Kovačević, Veno Mušinović, [Vedran Senjanović], Tamara Cesarac, Tomislav Sutlar, Tomaš Kratochvíl
Editor: [Martin Semenčić]
Composer: Stanko Juzbašić
Producers: Boris Bakal, Adrijana Prugovečki, Tibor Keser, Ivan Kelava
Production company: Multimedia Arts Organization Shadow Casters
Coproducers: Croatian Radiotelevision & 15 umjetnost
Film support: Croatian audiovisual center – HAVC, City of Zagreb – Department of Culture, EU Media