slav National Army, more than 10,000 soldiers as extras, military equipment... All of that contributed to it being a spectacle. But also in terms of the budget. It o - cially stood at $4.5million, a fabulous sum for the conditions of the then Yugoslavia. However, when we add to that the “free” participation of the military, as accurately calculated by some foreign producers, we reach a total of $12 million, which was incomprehensible forYugoslav conditions at that time. Pantelić adds that this super spectacle succeeded inwhatwas extremely important to the then state – for a significant battle from World War II to be seen beyond the borders of Yugoslavia “The local audiencewas satis ed, and themerepresenceofmajor starsmade this oneof theworld’sbiggestproductions that year. And it came fromYugoslavia,”he concludes. FilmcriticMiroljubStojanovićsays that this lm is still extremely important today, recallingan interestingstatement givenby director Bulajić in 2010. “I’ll quote Bulajić -“I was and remain a fullypro-regimedirector. MarshalTitopersonallystoodbehindmeandmy lms, each ofwhichcost asmuchas 17Yugoslav lms. AndAs privilegedAs I was, I amalsoproud of that, because I brought reputeandmoney to my homeland of Yugoslavia and to my people.”The Battle of Neretva is a lm that deserved a much better status than the reputation that remains. The lm has its ownmerits and faults, but it bothersme personally that even at the time of its appearance, witha fewvenerable andcritical views of its values and aws, it was viewed as a prototype of what the regime wanted. This lm was and remains a spectacle of world rank according to all of its attributes and it is in this sense that it should be approached,” concludes Stojanović. For the English version of the lm, the musical contribution was provided by famous composer BernardHermannandthe LondonPhilharmonicOrchestra,whileone of the original posterswas createdby PabloPicasso.This famous Spanishartistmade only two lm posters in his career, one for Buñuel’s 1929 lmAnAndalusianDogand theother for theBattleofNeretva. It is interesting that thepainter didn’t seek any fees, withhis only request being that he receive 12bottlesof thebestwine fromYugoslavia. The lm included world stars of the time Yul Brynner and Orson Welles, FrancoNero, HardyKruger, Sergei Bondarchuk, SylvaKoscina, Curt Jurgens,OlegVidovand AnthonyDawson.Our localactors inthecast included:MilenaDravić, LjubišaSamardžić, Velimir BataŽivojinović, BorisDvornik and many others. It was in early 1943when German generalsbegan, onHitler’spersonal orders, to implement theWeissplan for thedestructionof partisanunits. Pressuredby a far superior enemy, the partisans, with their General Sta and 4,500 wounded or su ering from typhoid, found themselves surrounded in the valley of the River Neretva.Onlyonebridgeremained, ontheother side of which strong enemy forces were waiting. Tito ordered the demolishing of the bridge. The surprised enemy shifted their forces to the other side, predicting that the partisans would attempt a suicidal breakthrough. However, over the course of just one night, the partisans built a temporary bridge beside the demolished one and crossed to the other side, where they clashedwithYugoslav Royalist Chetniks… Probably themost expensive lmcreationof the formerYugoslavia,VeljkoBulajić’s The Battle of Neretva was shot over a year andahalf, with the tremendous e ort of theentire country. Shootingwas initially postponed due to an earthquake in Skopje, then also due to economic reforms, so the rst clapperboard fell on 25th October 1967, andthepremiere–whichwasattended, alongside the cast anddirector, byTito, So a Loren, Omar Sharif and many others – was held at the Skenderija in Sarajevska Street on 29th November 1969. Tocommemorate the50th anniversary of this lm’spremiere, anexhibitionentitled ‘The Road to Freedommust be Clean’, designed by Maja Medić, opened in the Film Galleryof theBelgradeCultural Centre.The majority of the photographs on show at theexhibitionbelongtotheCinematheque Yugoslav FilmArchives, with a fewcoming from the archives of press agency Tanjug and one sourced from the Borba archives, while the exhibition itself is divided into three segments. “In the rst part are close-up shots of the leadactors, or scenes fromthe lm.Continuingon fromthemareoverall shots, presentedwith thedesire for visitors toat least partiallyfeel thatmagni cenceandthehithertounsurpassednumberofextras fora lm fromthis region. The nal section includes photosfrombehind-the-scenes,whichpresent the work of the director with the cast and preparations prior to shooting. A special segment is awall featuringnewspaper articles, which is an attempt to familiarise visitors with the atmosphere and boisterous reactions after the lm’spremiere, both in domestic and foreign media,”says exhibition author MajaMedić, adding that visitors can also see a replica of the poster that Picasso designed for the English version of the lm. “When a lm that illustrates an historical event is treated in a way that implies many years of preparation, then we get the impression that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia wanted this lm to succeed and for its success to extend beyondborders,whichthetopproductionalso achieved. Here I don’t onlymean thenomination for an American Academy Award, but also the incredible number of viewers who’ve watched this lmbeyond the borders of Yugoslavia. Even today you’ll still often nd this lm, which belongs among the ranks of world classics, in specialised DVDshopsaroundtheworld,”saysYugoslav Cinematheque Director Jugoslav Pantelić. And it was a Yugoslav lm in every sense, with the participation of the Yugo- | 43 YUL BRYNNER & ORSONWELLES  In addition to numerous controversies, this cinematographic achievement is accompanied by various interesting facts, from the fact that, for the purposes of the film, four specially constructed villages were destroyed, but also a fortress, while the bridge over the River Neretva was mined twice. However, not a single shot of the scene of the bridge’s destruction was included in the final cut of the film, because the blast of the mine raised huge clouds of dust. This scene was later filmed in a studio using models.  It is interesting that Orson Welles and Curt Jurgens hadn’t spoken for 15 years due to a single altercation, but they were reconciled by Bulajić during the making of this film.  Orson Welles, who received threatening letters in America after being offered the role of a Chetnik in this film, had to repeat the scene in which he “fell dead” as many as 11 times, and all because one of the extras kept looking into the camera each time.  This was the first and only shared film of Yul Brynner and Orson Welles. Brynner played partisan Vladimir Smirnov, aka Vlada Rus, while Welles played a Chetnik commander. Both actors died on the same day, 10th October 1985.  One of the authentic fighters from the Neretva was invited to the film’s premiere, but he responded to director Veljko Bulajić saying: “Thanks, I was at the premiere. I’m not coming to the repeat.”  Boris Dvornik, Petar Kralj and Kole Angelovski acted for free, because they were hired as then Yugoslav National Army members serving their military service. “That falls under our military duty,” said Boris Dvornik, speaking to media at the time of shooting.  It was simultaneously reported in the newspapers that Bata Živojinović and Ljubiša Samardžić received the highest earnings ever paid to local actors in a domestic film.  Some 600 people from the Požarevac area were hired to play Chetnik fighters, and they were paid a fee for six months just because they let their hair and beards grow during that period.