Movie Captain Lechi (1960.)

108 min


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The tale of the brave Captain Lechi as he leads his troops to victory.


108 min


All countries




Slavija Film

Captain Lechi

In 1960, The Ninth Circle ( Deveti krug) directed by France Štiglic triumphed at the Pula Film Festival, but Žika Mitrović's film was the most watched movie in all the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The undisputed climax of the "Yugoslav western", similar to Mitrović's film debut Echalon of Doctor M, the film takes place in Kosovo, this time in the period immediately after World War II, when the members of the KNOJ deal with remaining ballistas; its major trump card is the charismatic hero Ramiz Lešija (Aleksandar Gavrić), an "honest" Albanian officer, who is trying to save his deluded brother Ahmet (Rainer Penkert) from a ballistic lair. However, Laši is no prude, but a manwhore who likes to drink and because of his world view represents a typical "macho man" (which clashed with standards of socialist realism). In order to satisfy all the dramatic clichés, one handsome blonde girl (Marija Tocinoski – Mitrović's discovery from the Macedonian historical spectacle Miss Stone) and one scruffy brunette (at that time, the actress Selma Karlovac from Zagreb was already a well-established German called Elma Karlowa), pine after him; who of the two will win his heart and who will make sacrifices for him – it's not hard to guess. Of course, the character of Ramiz is played by a Serb (thanks to that role, Aleksandar Gavrić became the most popular actor of Yugoslavia of that time), and all the names of Albanian actors were spelled phonetically; however, accusing Mitrović of national insensitivity is pointless while his film dealt with living in an unreal world of the "Yugoslav western" (a particularly effective showdown in the Prokletije mountains, in which the rough landscape plays a dramatic role as do similar film venues in Anthony Mann's films). The very subtle counterpoint montage of Branko Ivanković's image is also attributed to the Eastmancolor advisor Edmond Richard, a song to Captain Leši, performed by Selma Karlovac, used to be a radio station hit. In the weekly magazine Plavi vjesnik, artist Jules Radilović published a comic strip that literally followed the plot. The phenomenon of the film Captain Leši ( Kapetan Leši) was so great that in 1962 Gunfight ( Obračun) was filmed, again with Leši as the protagonist (his new love Azira was embodied by the famous actress Jelena Jovanović Žigon), which again was the biggest hit of the year, surpassing by the total number of viewers even the much more famous film Kozara directed by Veljko Bulajić. Unlike many sequels, this was not a mere pun, but an extremely professional piece of work, which critics at the time refused to admit, appalled by the fact that the audience was rushing to the cinemas to see it, while cinemas playing "social events" such as the acclaimed Face to Face ( Licem u lice) directed by Branko Bauer, dealing with the imperfections of self-management practice, were half-empty. Author: Nenad Polimac

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