OBITUARY: Revered Ex-Yugoslavian Director Veljko Bulajić Dies at 96


    ZAGREB: One of the greatest directors of Yugoslavian cinema, Veljko Bulajić, died on 4 April 2024 in Zagreb, a family member confirmed for FNE.

    Veljko Bulajić, source: HAVCBorn in Montenegro in 1928 and spending most of his life between Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia, Bulajić was truly a hero of the golden period of Yugoslavian cinema. In the post-WW2 times, he studied at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, where he worked as the assistant to Federico Fellini and Vittorio De Sica.

    Upon returning to his homeland, he filmed his famous debut Train without a Timetable / Vlak bez voznog reda in 1959, which is considered one of the best Yugoslav films of all times.

    His often ambitious productions attracted international and domestic film stars and regularly premiered at festivals in Cannes, Venice and Moscow.

    His war drama Battle of Neretva, starring Yul Brynner, Orson Welles and Franco Nero, was nominated for an Oscar for the best foreign film in 1970. Pablo Picasso authored the poster for the film, famously asking for 12 bottles of Yugoslavian wine instead of an artist's fee.

    In modern-day Croatia, Veljko Bulajić struggled to make his final big feature: his last film Escape to the Sea, with Game of Thrones star Thomas Wlaschiha in the leading role, was filmed in 2017, but never released due to unpaid production debts.

    Escape to the Sea is a coproduction between Croatia's Gral Film, Montenegro's Dogma Studio and North Macedonia's Geyzer Film, and it was co-financed by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the Ministry of Culture and Media of Montenegro and the North Macedonia Film Agency.