This essay theorizes the concept of women’s minor cinema in socialist Yugoslavia, conceptualized through examples of cultural texts that circulate within the so-called women’s genres: romance films, “chick flicks,” and TV soap operas. Women’s cinema is here not defined solely as films made by women, but rather, films that address the spectator as a woman, regardless of the spectator’s sex or gender. I argue that, in the context of Yugoslavia, such works frequently articulated emancipatory, feminist stances that did not demarcate a dichotomous opposition to the socialist state as such, but rather called for the state to fulfill its original promise of gender equality as tied both to the class struggle and the annihilation of patriarchy. In the latter parts of the essay, I focus on the work of a pioneering Yugoslav woman director Soja Jovanović, and urge a rethinking of her oeuvre through the lens of socialist minor cinema that seemingly possesses low cultural capital yet frequently articulates poignant critiques along the intersections of sex, gender and social class. In focusing on the class-based critiques embedded in her television work in particular, the gender politics of socialist women’s cinema are explored vis-a-vis their distinction from the famed New Yugoslav Film. Jovanović has largely been left out of the historical accounts of socialist Yugoslav cinema, as well as out of the feminist accounts of the history of socialist women’s film in Eastern Europe more broadly. As a result, this essay seeks to perform a feminist historiography that writes Jovanović both into the history of Yugoslavia’s socialist film and into the history of women’s socialist minor cinema on an international scale.
"Towards Women’s Minor Cinema in Socialist Yugoslavia,"
Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women's & Gender Studies: Vol. 21:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cortland.edu/wagadu/vol21/iss1/4