Disappearance of Heroes


Serbian documentary film director, Ivan Mandić worked with our Design and Technology students last week at the high school. Mandic and our Design Teacher, Dr. Gordetsky, taught the students animation with clay to produce short digital films. I’ll be posting some of their work on the school’s web site later. Ivan is shown above with the grade 9 students.

Mandic’s most famous documentary film is called “Disappearance of Heroes” and it is about the renaming of the streets here in Belgrade. After World War II, Tito and the Partisans changed the names of many of the streets in the city. In the past few years, the city formed a commission to look into revising the names of streets. They wanted to get rid of much of these Communist inspired name changes as well as correct redundancies and put a general order into the naming system. Mandic takes the human side of this work, interviewing members of the commission and the relatives of the Communist heroes who lost the honor of having a street named after them. Mandic also gives the historical background of the war which I really appreciated. It was the first time I saw Tito’s speeches and the baton celebrations of socialism in Yugoslavia.

As I live in Serbia longer, I am realizing the impact of the conflict between the Partisans (Communisists) and the Chetniks (Serbian Royalists) and its effects even today. I’m reminded of the maxim that history is written by the victors. I wonder what Serbia would have been like today if the Chetniks and Draža Mihailojvic would have taken power instead of the Partisans. This is an idea I will be further pursuing as I learn more about Serbia.

I would like to thank Ivan for coming to our school and donating the DVD of his film to our school’s library. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot. He has subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and German. It will be available for check out after the Ski Week holiday.