Jasmina I. Tomašević

National Library of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia

Movies about the First World War: Shaping the Collective Memory.

Cases of Serbian/Yugoslav and Greek Cinematography

Abstract: The First World War brought radical changes to the political map of Europe and took more than 15 million lives on both warring sides. This conflict of unprecedented pro- portions has left deep traces on the lives of people who found themselves in a whirlwind of war. Therefore, it is no wonder that the theme of war was present in various types of hu- man creativity – through literature (especially autobiographical genres), art, but also popu- lar culture, where movies rightly took centre stage. Even during the period 1914–1918, the film became the main weapon of propaganda. Through this instrument, the message was able to reach quickly a large number of people, regardless of their social status and level of education. After 1918, the film served as a popular medium through which the memory of war events was preserved. The first movies exuded the anti-war spirit at the moment when post-war Europe was facing long-term economic consequences that had surfaced. Pacifist messages could be seen in different film productions, which to a large extent looked up to Hollywood, the most significant film industry in the world. The same was in the case of smaller allied countries such as Greece and Serbia, which both paved a different path of development due to the complexity of historical processes conducted in these Balkan countries. This paper aims to point out these different developments and shed light on lesser-known facts about Yugoslav and Greek WWI cinematography.
Keywords: First World War, collective memory, war movies, Serbian cinematography, Yugo- slav cinematography, Greek cinematography