Ljubavni slucaj ili tragedija sluzbenice P.T.T.,
[Love Affair/The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator]
Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator is a fascinating, offbeat,
and engagingly idiosyncratic examination of love, betrayal, world
history, psychology, and criminology. The film opens to Dr. Aleksander
Kostic's droll lecture on sexuality, and cuts to the images of several
provocative artworks. It serves as a comical prelude to the meeting
of a shy, Albanian sanitary inspector, Ahmed (Slobodan Aligrudic),
and the extroverted switchboard operator, Izabela (Eva Ras) amid the
chaos of a rapidly changing social and political climate. Dusan Makavejev
distills the evolution of Ahmed and Izabela's relationship through
a series of tangentially related, historically based documentary footage
- the rise of Communism, the abolition of the church, the government
program to control rat infestation, an agricultural scientist's observation
of an egg - to create a lyrical and sympathetic portrait of love in
a time of uncertainty. Makavejev further fragments the linearity of
the narrative through criminologist, Dr. Zivojin Aleksic's investigation
of a possible homicide, and in the process, examines the looming tragedy
of a contemporary love story.
Dusan Makavejev reflects the turbulence and duality
of 1960's Yugoslavia in The Case of the Missing
a disconsonant fusion of artistic expression, sexual liberation, and
political suppression. Through clinical, anesthetized lectures on
psychological behavior, Makavejev explores the tumultuous nature of
human relationships as a reflection, and often as a consequence, of
the environment. Ahmed represents the traditional order: practical,
conservative, and loyal party member. In contrast, Isabela embodies
the spirit of the times: unconventional, self-involved, and independent.
Inevitably, their union becomes an allegory for the tenuous dichotomy
of the Yugoslavian nation - a cultural, ideological, and social revolution
for national identity and autonomy - a struggle for the collective
soul of a people.
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