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A classic Yugoslav black wave film.

After Serbia’s liberation in World War II, a young man, Ivo, enthusiastically participates in the reconstruction of the country. Full of ideals, Ivo follows the instructions of his communist fellows to separate from Milica, daughter of a prominent lawyer, and he gets involved in the newly formed partisan security service. Confronted by the lack of ethics of some of his comrades, Ivo grows increasingly resentful and disillusioned.

The film was notably attacked by critics during its premiere at the Pula Film Festival but went on to be screened at the 30th Venice International Film Festival, where it received the CIDALC award. In 1971, Dušan Makavejev selected the film for the first Belgrade International Film Festival – FEST within the section ‘Confrontations’.

The Ambush is regarded as the first critical film about war and revolution to reject previous stereotypes of the partisan film genre and to explore how the cruelty of ideology can gain supremacy over the principles of humanity. The film highlights the complex issues that take root within a culture of dogmatism and the everlasting conflict between individual ethics and social conformity.

Although the film was not officially banned, the surrounding controversy and commentary hindered its commercial distribution opportunities.

Extraordinary black and white cinematography, stunning performances, and almost documentary-style directing deservedly elevated The Ambush to the highest ranks of Yugoslav classic cinema.

Zaseda / The Ambush

Fiction / Yugoslavia / 1969
Director: Živojin Pavlović.
Producer: FRZ – Filmska radna zajednica, Beograd.
With: Milena Dravić, Ivica Vidović, Severin Bijelić, Slobodan Aligrudić, Pavle Vuisić, Dragomir Felba.
Screenplay: Živojin Pavlović, based on novels by Antonije Isaković.
Cinematography: Milorad Jakšić-Fanđo.
Music supervisor: Miodrag Petrović Šarlo.
Editing: Olga Skrigin.

Physical characteristics of first release: 35mm, 75’ (2087 meters), B&W, sound, Serbian.

Film copy screened during A Season of Classic Films:
Premiere restoration. 2K, DCP, 76’, Serbian.
Digitally restored by Yugoslav Film Archive, Serbia.
Subtitles: English.
Copyright: Centar Film, Beograd.