Montenegrin cinema cancels screening of Serbian Chetnik film

An image from the film “Entouré” about the Chetnik movement. Photo: www.filmnikolakalabic.com.

The Cineplexx cinema in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, said on Friday it would no longer show the film “Surrounded”, about a Serbian World War II Chetnik leader, Nikola Kalabic, after activists on social media demanded the cancellation of the screening scheduled for April 14. .

“The Serbian film will not be shown in our cinema,” Cineplexx told the CDM news site.

Directed by Serbian author and publisher Miloslav Samardzic, “Surrounded” is the first drama film about the Chetnik movement in Serbia, according to the film’s website.

It focuses on the armed confrontation of Kalabic and his associates with German troops in Serbia in 1942. It is produced by the Pogledi publishing house of Samardzic, known throughout the former Yugoslav region for its publications on the movement chetnik.

The Chetniks represented Serbian royalist interests during World War II, but lost out to partisans, led by Josip Broz Tito and the Communist Party, who accused them of collaborating with Nazi occupation forces.

Kalabic was the commander of a Chetnik unit called Mountain Guard Corps. After his death in 1946, he was declared a “national enemy” by a Yugoslav court. The circumstances of his death have never been established.

In May 2017, a Serbian court in the city of Valjevo pardoned Kalabic, but in May 2018 the Belgrade Court of Appeal requested that the case be re-examined to determine whether or not Kalabic had participated in war crimes.

According to Serbian law on rehabilitation, a person who has committed or participated in war crimes is not entitled to rehabilitation.

Samardzic said in June last year that the film was to portray the Chetniks as an anti-fascist movement. He said it was funded by members of the Serbian diaspora from all over the world.

We try to rely as much as possible on our people who have emigrated and who are in the film industry. We have a lot of descendants of Chetniks who are in the film industry who were ready to help us,” Samardzic said. Pogledia magazine owned by his publishing house.

In 2016, the Montenegrin government banned the Ravna Gora Chetnik movement, saying it promoted radical ideologies and ethnic hatred.

Every August, in the village of Gornje Zaostro near the town of Berane, pro-Serb organizations honor Pavle Djurisic, a former officer in the army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and one of the Chetnik leader’s closest associates Dragoljub ‘Draza’ Mihailović.

In 2003, a memorial to Djurisic was erected in Zaostro but because it was built without permission, state authorities removed it.

Riot police were deployed during the removal of the memorial due to fears of possible violence amid strong opposition from Djurisic’s supporters.

Chetnik rallies have also been controversial in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, where three members of the Ravna Gora Movement, a Chetnik organization, were acquitted in December of inciting ethnic and religious hatred during a uniformed rally in the city of Visegrad. . Their annual gathering was banned by the police this year.

About Eleanor Blackburn

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