AMIR
MURATOVIĆ

SWEET SENSUALITY OF MARGIN

SLATKA STRAST PERIFERIJE

Ivica Matić died on October 3, 1976, a few months after completing his only feature film A Women With Landscape (Žena s krajolikom). Around that time he finished his studies of cinematography at Zagreb's Academy of Dramatic Arts. He burned some of his short films himself, some were stolen and many disappeared from Sarajevo's TV station where he worked. In spite of this, most of his important films remain: sometimes scratched, broken and with faded colours, some of them without sound, or title, or in fragmentary takes. His heritage contains unfinished scripts, shooting scripts, newspaper articles and true stories, that could have been ideas for great films.

Matić’s first short films provoked with themes; very short shots of rough sexuality were interlaced with faces shocked with personal tragedies – Classified Ads (Mali oglasi), pastoral scenes with nude girls in nature were mixed with ugly everyday life – Trip of the Last Jacqueline (Izlet posljednje Žaklin), Virgin in the Green Grass (Nevina dama u zelenoj travi), Wedding (Vjenčanje); he showed people in their most intimate moments without embellishment – An Interview with the Mistress (Intervju s ljubavnicom), A Man in White Briefs (Čovjek u bijelim gaćama), M-me Legranden (Gospođica Legranden) and became more and more impressed by unusual physiognomies – Six Minutes of Poor John (Šest minuta jadni John), I zoi. He was searching for unusual artistic compositions and textures in Bosnian landscapes – Black and White Lucifer (Crno-bijeli Lucifer), Yellow-Green (Žuto-zeleno) in which he found people always connected with animals and nature, even in the city junkyards as in the film Purgatory (Čistilište). His films were filled with unusual poetics, like the film Theme 1, a story in three pictures about a bench in the main park of Sarajevo. But above all, all his films were experiments researching viewer’s perception and the strength of film language. This is most visible in the film Process made of 6.000 different frames.

A Women With Landscape seems to be a story about a forest ranger – a naïve painter not accepted in society as an artist. With a set of poetical pictures-scenes Matić pays a compliment to Bosnia, its hills, haystacks, flocks of sheep, the strong Bosnian man, juicy language and fine humour. Tradition of naïve art, sonority, rhythm of the landscape and the extraordinary combination of film languages are all condensed in this film. It was recognized as the beginning of the Sarajevo film school with the specific Bosnian style Matić was searching for.

Emir Kusturica started his professional career in 1978 with the TV film Brides Are Coming (Nevjeste dolaze), shot after one of the scripts in Matić's heritage, whom he highly respected. Kusturica never dared to confront himself with another, the perhaps even more unusual text from Matić, Marginal Sensuality (Periferno sladostrašće).

Marginal Sensuality is a script confusing the reader with its impulsiveness, unusual dramaturgy taking after antique tragedy, with a treasury of real life heroes shown without a bad conscience in the darkest possible colours, left to fatalism and slowly dying in a forgotten suburb of a city. In order to at least partly understand the meaning of this text, its scenes, characters, dialogues... we have to connect threads from all Matić's films, his unrealized texts and contemporaries. Sometimes even one take is expressive enough, or on other occasions a single photograph, a small note on the edge of the text.

The study Sweet Sensuality of Margin (Slatka strast periferije) recognizes elements of a movie narrative specific for the remaining works of Ivica Matić and creates a sense of his Poetics, useful for anybody undertaking a careful reading of Marginal Sensuality. A kind of Matić's encyclopedia has been created containing analyses of his known films in alphabetic order, combining newspaper articles and filmographical data. Characters and elements of the script Marginal Sensuality are also important. One of the shortest dictionary entries is ‘Periferno sladostrašće’ as all the threads of other entries are connected to it. Towards the end we find the film A Women With Landscape, Matić's last and the most important work, a kind of prediction and staging of his own death.

A Women With a Landscape won most of the prizes on international film festivals after 1989, when the film was blown up to 35 mm. With each passing year Matić's work is becoming more and more interesting and is still worthy of such an analysis, even today. However, his research into the art of viewing undertaken as a cinematographer has by and large remained unnoticed. As screenwriter Abdulah Sidran said: "Each sentence Matić ever wrote should be filmed". Sweet Sensuality of Margin is a contribution towards this end.