Photography and cinematography


In Croatia, photography appeared around 1840. Among the first to make daguerreotypes was Demetrije Novaković, who was followed by many other amateurs, such as Juraj Drašković and Dragutin Antun Parčić. After 1850, photography ateliers were established throughout Croatia: in Zagreb, there were the ateliers of Franjo Pommer, Julius Hühn, Ivan Standl, the author of the first photo-monograph, Rudolf Mosinger and Antonija Kulčar; in Zadar, the ateliers of Tomas Burat and others. In the late 19th century, photographers leaned towards verismo – for instance Karlo Drašković, the author of the first momentary photograph – or pictorialism, such as Antun Stiasni, while Stjepan Erdödy explored the possibilities of the medium of photography and created the first photomontages and photocollages. During the interwar period, Franjo Mosinger embraced the aesthetics of the new reality and, with his montages, came close to the avant-garde movements, as did Ivana Tomljenović-Meller.

In the 1930s, the Zagreb School of Art Photography was founded; it introduced social-criticism themes and was led by Tošo Dabac, who, in his exceptionally long career, became the leading name of Croatian photography, leaving his mark on all kinds of photography topics, which is attested to by his rich archival legacy (administered by the Museum of Contemporary Art from 2006).

Stjepan Erdődy's Leap (1895), by Dragutin (Karlo) Drašković, an amateur photographer and the founder of art photography in Croatia.
Tošo Dabac, Republic Square (around 1960)
Josip Klarica, Morning in My Garden (2010)
Ivan Posavec, Zagreb (1976)
Željko Jerman, A Nude at the Cemetery (1974)
Ana Opalić, Self-Portrait (2003)

The most prominent representatives of post-war photography include Mladen Grčević with his life-photographs, Oto Hohnjec, who exhibited the first colour photograph, Milan Pavić and Slavka Pavić, while new artistic interpretations of reality were offered by the brothers Ante and Zvonimir Brkan, and Mladen Tudor was closer to the 'magnum' photojournalistic style. The expansion of the youth (Polet, Studentski list) and magazine press of the new type (Start, Danas) in the late 1970s produced, among others, Ivan Posavec, Mio Vesović and Boris Cvjetanović. In addition, photographers of a markedly personal authorial expression such as Zlata Vucelić and Josip Klarica were and still are active.

The late 20th and early 21st century was marked by the departure of analogue photography and the arrival of digital photography, especially during the Homeland War (1991–95), which also presents a break with the until-then standard photography topics. The end of the usage of films and the crisis of printed media resulted in the lowered activity of quality photographers, with some brief exceptions (Stephan Lupino). Only a few authors continued their work using new technology. Among them was Ivan Posavec, who is active in the press, and Damir Fabijanić, who is an independent photographer who covers all sorts of topics (from the Homeland War to various independent projects of national importance). Along with the affirmed names of the older generation (Jasenko Rasol, Ana Opalić, Darije Petković), new ones have appeared: Marko Ercegović, Tjaša Kalkan, Petra Mrša.


Professional Croatian cinematography began to develop in continuity only in the mid-20th century, although the first preserved film recordings of Croatian regions were made in 1898 (only three years after the invention of film) by Alexandre Promio, a cameraman for the Lumière company, and in 1904 by Frank Mottorshaw, the British film pioneer. The Croatian cameraman Josip Halla filmed the Balkan wars for the Éclaire film journal, while the Croatian actor Zvonimir Rogoz made a notable Central European career between the two world wars. Oktavijan Miletić's 16-mm films are of enormous significance for European film culture and amateurism, while the educational films produced by the School of Public Health are an early example of a well-rounded documentary school attaining world-level quality. The Independent State of Croatia (1941–45) organised the production of propaganda documentary and cultural films within the framework of the State Film Institute 'Hrvatski slikopis' ('Croatian Film'), which became the Film Directorate for Croatia after the war and, in 1946, Jadran Film, the central film studio until 1991. At the height of the industrialisation and modernisation of the country in the 1950s, cinema became part of general and urbanised culture and cinema-going – a daily pastime.

Oktavijan Miletić (1902–87)
H-8... (1958) by Nikola Tanhofer
Der Damm (1964) by Vlado Kristl
Rondo (1966) by Zvonimir Berković
Surogat /Surrogate/ (1962), by Dušan Vukotić, was the first non-American film to be awarded an Oscar.
The World Festival of Animated Film in Zagreb is one of the most prestigious in the world.

As early as in the mid-1950s, Croatian cinema broke away from ideological engagement and the first masterpieces were produced: Koncert/The Concert/ (Branko Belan, 1954), Ne okreći se, sine/Don't Look Back, My Son/ (Branko Bauer, 1956) and H-8... (Nikola Tanhofer, 1858). Jadran Film became a successful international co-producer for films shot in Croatia, winning two Oscar nominations for best international feature film: Cesta duga godinu dana/The Road a Year Long/ (Giuseppe de Santis, 1958) and Deveti krug/The Ninth Circle/ (France Štiglic, 1960). On the threshold of the 1960s, other film genres also flourished: a large number of documentaries toured international festivals (films by Krsto Papić and Rudolf Sremac); the internationally influential anti-film movement (authors Mihovil Pansini, Tomislav Gotovac, Vladimir Petek) developed in Zagreb and was active from 1963 to 1970 as part of the GEFF experimental film festival; while animated films made by the Zagreb Film Animated Film Studio became a world sensation under the name of the Zagreb School of Animated Film (Dušan Vukotić, Nikola Kostelac, Vlado Kristl, Vatroslav Mimica, Zlatko Grgić, Boris Kolar, Nedeljko Dragić, Zlatko Bourek, Borivoj Dovniković, Pavao Štalter, Zdenko Gašparović, Aleksandar Marks, Vladimir Jutriša and others).

Bitka na Neretvi /The Battle of Neretva/ (1969) by Veljko Bulajić
Tko pjeva zlo ne misli /One Song a Day Takes Mischief Away/ (1970) by Krešo Golik
Ritam zločina /The Rhythm of Crime/ (1981) by Zoran Tadić
The Blacks (2009), directed by Goran Dević and Zvonimir Jurić. The film won the Golden Arena for Best Director at the 56th Pula Film Festival (2009), the Croatian national film awards.
Zvizdan /The High Sun/ (2015) by Dalibor Matanić won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival.
Svećenikova djeca /The Priest's Children/ (2013) by Vinko Brešan was nominated for the European Film Award for Best Comedy.
Ustav Republike Hrvatske /The Constitution/ (2016) by Rajko Grlić was awarded the Grand Prix des Amériques at the Montreal World Film Festival.
Ne gledaj mi u pijat /Quit Staring at My Plate/ (2016) by Hana Jušić received the Fedeora Award in the Venice Days (Giornate degli autori) section at the Venice International Film Festival.
Branko Lustig (1932–2019), was an eminent Croatian producer, who has worked in Hollywood since the late 1980s and co-produced two films which won Oscars (Schindler's List and Gladiator).

In the 1960s, feature film also underwent a change, acquiring the modern form of naration and contributing to the Yugoslav Partisan film in the co-production of which Croatian directors, cameramen, actors and film studios also participated (for instance, the Oscar-nominated spectacle Bitka na Neretvi/The Battle of Neretva/ by Veljko Bulajić). In the 1960s and 1970s, Croatian film-making was characterised by auteur films that were part of the Eastern European 'new film' trend (the films of Vatroslav Mimica, Ante Babaja, Krsto Papić, Tomislav Radić, Zvonimir Berković, Krešo Golik, Antun Vrdoljak, Fadil Hadžić and Lordan Zafranović), while genre films in the postmodernist vein dominated in the 1980s (for instance, films by Zoran Tadić and Rajko Grlić). In the early 1990s, due to the breakup of Yugoslavia and the war, Croatian cinematography went through an organisational and production crisis; however, a new generation of directors soon emerged (Zrinko Ogresta, Lukas Nola, Vinko Brešan, Hrvoje Hribar, Dalibor Matanić, Ognjen Sviličić, Arsen Anton Ostojić).

Since 2000, multi-screen cinemas have opened in all major cities, while the network of independent cinemas was renewed and digitalised in 2010. Production was particularly reanimated in 2008, after the establishment of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), the central public agency for the audiovisual sector, and an increase in international cooperation through membership in the Eurimages European co-production film support fund and cooperation in the European Union's MEDIA programme. In the 2010s, the public film policy advocated by the HAVC led to the stabilisation and international recognisability of Croatian cinematography and a continuous support for documentary, experimental and animated films, which resulted in an increase in foreign co-productions filmed in Croatia and a diversification of production, manifest in the first place in a much greater creative representation of women.