News 31 Jul 12

TV Show Aims to Unite Partisans and Chetniks

A new TV drama about the civil war between the Chetniks and the Partisans during the Second World War aims to bridge the divisions that persist in Serbian society.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN
Belgrade
Director Rados Bajic, Photo: Beta

Filming of the first of three seasons of the TV drama entitled “1941-1945“ started on July 24 at the purpose-built period village of Mokra Gora in Western Serbia.

The first episode of the series - a co-production between the Serbian public broadcaster, RTS and Kontrast studios -  is expected to reach TV screens by the end of next year.

The series is written and directed by Rados Bajic who says that he wrote the screenplay at the suggestion of the director of RTS, Aleksandar Tijanic.

An ideological division:

At the outbreak of the Second World War, as a response to the German occupation, Yugoslav partisans formed Tito’s communist army, while the Chetniks consisted of monarchists, led by the Serbian general Draza Mihailovic.

By late 1942, however, Mihailovic was convinced that Communism posed a greater long-term threat to Yugoslavia than the Axis occupation, and he sought to conserve his forces for a showdown with Josip Broz Tito’s Partisans.

Some of Mihailovic’s top lieutenants in the field, such as “Pop” [Priest] Djujic, openly collaborated with the Italians and the Germans in the name of the preservation of Serbia’s Orthodox faith and the nation.  He and others also targeted and killed Bosnian Muslims and Croats as well as Communists.

After Tito’s Communists seized power in Yugoslavia, they hunted down Mihailovic and put him on trial in Belgrade in 1946. He was found guilty of collaborating with the Axis powers and executed.

During the Communist era in Yugoslavia, the Chetniks were banned as a movement. They re-emerged following the dissolution of the country.

According to Bajic, the show is an attempt to reconcile old conflicts that still prevail in Serbian society, and that caused suffering on both sides.

“With the greatest respect for all of the victims of the fratricide, whatever side they were on, I decided to tell a story about the way the Serbian people have suffered from the consequences of tragic historical divisions."

"We do not wish to opt for one side or the other, or to make judgements – we’ll tell a tale in which everyone loses, to emphasise that it must never happen again“, said Bajic.

Although the script was based on three and a half years of thorough research into the history of the period, Rados Bajic says that the show is primarily a mainstream drama based on historical events.

“The show will treat the Partisan and Ravna Gora [Chetnik] movements even handedly, and speak both about Josip Broz Tito and the martyr, General Mihajlovic“, Bajic announced. “I am very excited to be the first to talk about the great national injustice that was done to the patriotic movement of the Serbian people, led by Draza Mihajlovic”.

Actor Dragan Bjelogrlic will play the role of Tito | Photo: Youtube

“I am sure that Serbia will not be the same country after this show," Bajic added.

The first 15 episodes are named  “Ravna Gora“, after the mountain peak in western Serbia where the Chetnik movement was founded.

Among a cast of some 200 actors are Dragan Bjelogrlic, who will play the role of Josip Broz Tito, and Nebojsa Glogovac, who will play the Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic.

Nebojsa Glogovac to act as general Mihailovic | Photo: Youtube

The first eight episodes of the 15-part first series of  “Ravna Gora”, which is being filmed at various locations across the country, including Mount Tara, the Drina river, and the cities of Belgrade and Kragujevac, should be completed by December this year.

 

 

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