Tito enjoys comeback
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Mon May 8 08:58:16 MDT 2000
Monday 8 May 2000
Tito enjoys comeback
By Zoran Radosavljevic
ZAGREB: Twenty years after his death, Yugoslavia's communist ruler Marshal
Josip Broz Tito is enjoying a public comeback. Tito, a flamboyant and often
controversial figure, who ruled the multi- ethnic federation from the end of
World War II until 1980, is the subject of a new film by young director
Vinko Bresan called The Marshal.
Bresan's surreal film poses the question: What would happen if Tito came
back from the dead to his native Croatia, where a few of his die-hard
followers, ageing communists and anti-fascists, now live?
The film is making many in Croatia, now an independent state, look again at
the historic role of the wartime partisan leader turned world statesman.
This year Croatia marked the death of Tito for the first time since gaining
independence in 1991.
Several thousand people gathered on May 4 in Kumrovec, his birthplace in
northern Croatia, where sirens wailed at 3:05 p.m., the exact time of his
death. The mourners, mostly elderly, laid flowers and sang patriotic songs.
Many filed through the wooden cottage where Tito was born.
A pub called ``The Old Man'' recently opened in Kumrovec and local leaders
have restored the entire village in the hope of reviving once-thriving
Tito's Yugoslav federation outlived him by ten years before it crumbled amid
rising nationalism in its six constituent republics and the end of
On April 15, The Marshal had its opening night in Belgrade, capital of the
rump Yugoslavia, and Bresan received a long ovation from the audience. The
movie is now being shown throughout Yugoslavia and is being promoted with
the slogan: ``The movie we have waited for 20 years.''
``One cannot avoid Tito. He is the only common ground we (the people of
former Yugoslavia) have left now,'' Bresan said, explaining why the film was
being received with enthusiasm in Serbia.
Earlier this year, a Serbian film called Tito and I, a parody of the Tito
years as seen through the eyes of a young boy, showed in Zagreb and for days
drew roars of laughter from the packed house of a small art house cinema.
``This is a natural reaction of people who have realised after 10 years that
they lived better before,'' said sociologist Slaven Letica, commenting on
the blooming ``Tito trade.''
Tito remains a controversial figure. (DPA)
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© Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 2000.
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