Branko Bauer

Branko Bauer

Croatian film director
Date of Birth: 18.02.1921
Country: Croatia

Biography of Branko Bauer

Born in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, Branko Bauer was a Croatian film director who played a significant role in the dominance of modernism in Yugoslavian cinema in the 1960s. From a young age, Bauer had a strong interest in cinematography, which was further developed through his friendship with a Jewish pianist girl whom his parents hid from the Croatian fascist party.

After World War II, Bauer began working at the 'Jadran' film studio, primarily focusing on documentary films. His debut project, the adventure film 'Sinji galeb' ("The Blue Seagull"), highlighted his distinctive visual style and approach to filmmaking. However, it was with his third film, the 1956 war thriller 'Ne Okreći Se Sine' ("Don't Turn Around, Son"), that Branko Bauer gained significant recognition, particularly in Yugoslavia. The film tells the story of a Resistance fighter who escapes from a Ustasha concentration camp and joins the Croatian guerrillas in the high mountains, searching for his son who had been sent to a Ustasha school. The film's plot partially echoes the noir thriller 'Odd Man Out' by Carol Reed, and its final scene, which gave the film its title, was inspired by Disney's 'Bambi'.

Despite critical indifference towards his melodrama 'Samo ljudi' ("Just People"), it gained renewed appreciation in recent times, as it was originally considered unserious within the context of communist Yugoslavia. Two years later, his film 'Tri Ane' ("Three Annas") was also poorly received but is now considered his best work throughout his career. 'Tri Ane' tells the story of a lonely old man who believes his daughter died during the war, but later discovers she may have survived and been adopted.

His subsequent films, 'Martin u oblacima' ("Martin in the Clouds") and 'Prekobrojna' ("Too Many"), received better reviews from both critics and audiences. 'Prekobrojna' marked the debut of future Croatian superstar Milena Dravić. However, Bauer's most famous film, 'Licem u lice' ("Face to Face"), released in 1963, holds the distinction of being the first Yugoslavian political drama. Although there were initial disputes surrounding the film, it received approval from the Communist Party, which was seen as a green light for more socially critical projects in the film industry.

In the late 1960s, Branko Bauer disappeared from the spotlight but was remembered by young Yugoslavian critics in the late 1970s when they decided to compile their collection of "masters of classical cinema." Branko Bauer passed away on April 11, 2002, in Zagreb. His contributions to Yugoslavian cinema, particularly in his earlier works, continue to be recognized and appreciated.