Private Project

What happens in Zvezda

Robin Kötzle collages documentary material from a squat cinema in Belgrade and historical Yugoslavian films to create an experimental film about self-management of labor, emancipation of labor in Yugoslavian socialism and in today's late capitalism. The film takes a parallel look at two perspectives of workers' self-management with both the documentation of labor processes in the occupied cinema Novi Bioskop Zvezda and the historical workers' self-management in Yugoslavia. It weaves through 25 years of Yugoslav film history (1949 - 1974) in order to examine the view of worker self-management at the time. Robin Kötzle worked with the squatters' collective during the production period to show films to the public 5 times a week and to work together against the dilapidation of the cinema. What happens in Zvezda meanders between history and the present, historical socialism and currently lived communist structures, Yugoslav film history and today's alternative cinema culture, game and reality. By cinematically overlapping these dimensions, the film reveals illusions and possibilities of self-managed work, which at the same time questions the realities of our reality.

  • Robin Kötzle
  • Robin Kötzle
  • Anđela Stanimirović
    Key Cast
  • Đorđe Bakoč
    Additional Camera
  • Bogdana Marić
    Additional Camera
  • Bogdana Marić
  • Aleksandra Bek-Uzarov
  • Sara Mihić
  • Mario Mac Tovirac
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Documentary, Experimental
  • Runtime:
    55 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 27, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany, Serbia
  • Language:
    Croatian, English, Serbian
  • Shooting Format:
    4K DCI
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Robin Kötzle

Robin Kötzle (Waldenbuch, 1992) is a visual artist and filmmaker. After studying economics in Cologne, he began studying art at the HFBK in Dresden with Prof. Carsten Nicolai and Prof. Nicole Vögele. In recent years he has been working on questions of representations, realities, work and the digital revolution. To this end, he repeatedly turns his gaze to history. Using historical buildings, monuments in public space and archives, past and present are constantly recontextualized in his works, thus generating a possible future.

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Director Statement

Arriving in a new city is often difficult. So I also came to Belgrade at the end of 2021 without knowing anyone. Walking through the city without knowing or understanding anything, I turned into the cinema Novi Bioskop Zvezda. I just walked into the entrance, overwhelmed not knowing how to behave. Today I don't even remember what movie I was watching. But what I do know today is that the moment I entered that place changed my entire time in Belgrade.
I became a part, not only a part, of a squatter collective running a cinema. Not only part of a group of friends, but miraculously I became part of this city.
I worked in the cinema like everyone else, cleaning toilets, scrubbing the floor, fixing the lamps and painting the walls. Working in a cinema that is more than 100 years old is also working on the myth. But what I was really doing was making friends. People who gave their hearts to a place that wouldn't exist without them. Who go to the cinema several times a week and keep this historic place alive. To create a place for the city where films can be watched, where people can meet, regardless of economic backgrounds. An open place independent of profit maximizing principles. A place that felt so far from reality that we always thought it was just a game we were playing. A game in which we set the rules and of which I was allowed to be a part!
My film is not only a confrontation with playing, history and work, but it is my thank you to Belgrade and to my friends who even today unlock Novi Bioskop Zvezda 5 times a week and play a movie.