ln l942, a Serbian acrobat named Dragoljub Aleksic made a film about himself in occupied Belgrade. lt was the story of an orphan girl driven by her stepmother into the arms of a rich man when her true love belongs to the acrobat. The acrobat saves her after many heroic deeds. The print of the film was confiscated by the Germans and discovered by the Yugoslavs after the war. The director
of this new version of it searched for the acrobat and then put the old film together, adding colour to it, and setting it in a new documentary type of framework.
The outcome is both amusing and interesting. It has value as a documentary, but also gives the viewer the chance to laugh at an old amateur feature pic. How the whole thing comes across the screen is not easy to- describe for this is very much on the unusual side.
Hans in Variety</p>
Makavejev promises more and more to be the Braque of European cinema. This latest jeu d'esprit ...says the director, is “a peculiar cinematic time machine", yielding a portrait-in-depth of Aleksic, who even 25 years later appears in real life to be every bit as vain and
courageous as he was in the Elm. Makavejev's own bubbling personality peeps through the scrapbook at every point, and 'ensures that while we may hiss at the hammy acting or ridicule the grotesque situations, we
remain aware of one man`s deeply-felt aitection and respect for a folk hero of his youth.
Peter Cowe in International Film Guide I969
Silver Arena, Pula; Special Jury Prize, FIPRESCI Prize, Berlin.