In a pioneering exploration of the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, Dusan Makavejev resurrects a primitive Serbian talkie made during the Nazi occupation and surrounds it with period newsreels and contemporary interviews with the surviving members of its cast. The film within the film is a wonderfully naïve melodrama about a young woman whose wicked stepmother forces her into a relationship with a wealthy suitor despite her avowed love for a strongman, who predictably comes to her rescue. In Makavejev’s hands the material yields both humor and some profound history lessons as the poignant aspirations of film people encounter the larger realities of life during the war.
The multi-talented Swedish writer and artist Peter Weiss (Marat Sade, The Investigation) worked extensively in experimental cinema in the 1950s. His Interplay transforms two lovers into a series of provocative abstract compositions.