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Wicca in Serbia

A brand new Serbian film Loveless Zoritsa ( Crne Zorica)
Serbian-Greek co production directed by Greek film director Hristina
Hatziharalabous and Serbian film director Radoslav  Pavković is a comedy with
elements of adventure, released recently, and it may predict new era of
contemporary Serbian film. Producers of this film are international; Super
Films (Belgrade), Federico Film (Warsaw), Frame by Frame (Nicosia)
and 'Pan entertainment (Athens).
Well, let me start with this! No more films about civil war in ex Yugoslavia or heavy postwar dramas about Serbia
today.  Serbia has a colorful folk inheritance that can be told via comedy
or fantastic films on such a perfect way, effectively targeting an international
audience by finding a perfect balance between crude and yet subconscious.

Now let me ask you a couple of questions: Do you believe in love?  We
all do, aren’t we? Do you believe in witcrafts?  Well, some people in Serbia do!
Historically believe in magical powers exists in every single culture in the
world and Serbs are no exception here. Witchcraft, in historical, religious,
mythological or anthropological context is the alleged use of magical or
supernatural abilities to gain something. The witch cult hypothesis is  a
controversial theory reserved mainly only for Europeans, as it is explained in
an expert literature as a suppressed pagan religion that in 19th and
20th centuries become the self-designation of a branch of neopaganism„
especially
Wicca tradition that has pre-Christian roots. A witch, in old English is called Wicca
feminine and is reserved for women to be practitioner. However, historically,
it was widely believed in early modern Christian Europe to be a parallel or
personificated with the devil who uses evil power to harm people or damage
property. Ever since the mid-20th century, "evil" and
"good" witchcraft are distinguished in order to involve healing
properties as well and demystified the believe of pagans. The concept of
witchcraft as harmful deed is treated as a cultural ideology by the means of
explaining human misfortune or describing supernatural entity or a known person
in the community. Just as in Eastern and Southeastern
Europe such supernatural witches became an ideology explaining catastrophes
of entire communities.


Serbia also has all that: black magic, white magic…curses…all that and the
believe in all that practically bloomed during the moral and social decrease of
society and general increase of poverty due to a civil war in the last 20 years
on the territory of ex Yugoslavia.

But
lets go back to our film.

Film Loveless Zoritsa (Crna Zorica) is the action film set in
contemporary eastern Serbia
in a small village still steeped into a superstition and prejudice. Zoritsa
( a wonderful Serbian actress Ljuma Penov) carries a curse - since her first love
mysteriously drowned in the river, all men close to her die on a strangest
ways. So now, she needs to find out and do the right ritual in order to find
love. What a romantic flimflam this is! Perhaps history repeats itself again.
To explain I would like to mention a historical aspect of the witch believe.
After the great witch hunts done by Christians , when numerous women lost their
life on a horrific way, enhancing a real demonic aspect of a Christian religion
and hate directed toward women in general encouraged by the early Christians,
witchcraft and witches were again popularized in 18th century romanticism,
which was the opposite of the movement in history called Enlightenment, when in
1749 Italian Girolamo Tartarotti made the claim that, according to him „ the
religion persecuted in the witch-hunt was largely influenced by pagan
traditions and iconography, though he did not claim that it was a pagan
religion itself.„
  In Serbia
there are still remains of this pagan iconography in nowadays, widely encouraged
by media on a various psychologically dangerous way? Nevertheless, we can say
that contemporary Serbia
may have entered a new romanticism via folk pagan believes, that may be
exploited on film, on a very positive way.


 

So this is what the film Loveless Zoritsa ( Crne Zorica) directed by
Hristina Hatziharalabous and  Radoslav  Pavković  really is.
This film may put pagan iconography in the romantic context and promote Serbia as a
special and mysterious place, without bringing up Kosovo or civil war. Here,
there is a perfect way to promote country and culture. Just imagine what kind
of promotion does have Scotland,
Wales or England and their culture of pagan symbols,
Druid stories and Stonehenge still remain on the territory of UK.
A thousands and thousands tourists coming to Scotland
and Wales
today just to encounter old pagan believes.

 

Serbia
also had Celts, druids and pagans. Some genetic studies say that, of all
European nations, „the closest structure of the blood has Serbs with Welsh
and Scots„
. For some reasons, some modern Serb nationalists greatly support
this theory. In addition, according to this, Serb ancestors were unusually
close to the Celts, who were again „great-grandfather of many modern
European nations today„
. Many experts will say that the Celts from our
region merged with the Slavic people. After all, the Serbian capital Belgrade was built by the
Celts.


So this believes in witchcrafts and modern Wicca today among the villages
has historical roots.  In history for instance, Celtic society women
could be found in authority, whether ruling a tribe or leading a war. Boudicca,
the rule of Iceni was accepted as the leader of the southern Bristish tribes in
61 A.D.  In Serbian patriarchate Christian society hierarchy, women
were not accepted as leaders, which may be a reason why women are Wicca, a
wicked witch in the folk heritage of Christian Serbia. Therefore, there is
misfortunate Zoritsa, young woman looking for love, forced to face angry mob of
a Serbian village, cursed and marked forever as the evil one. Angry villagers
call her the kiss of death and the story is getting complicated when Mane
stubborn Serbian cop who does not believe in  old wives' tales and
witchcraft, is trying to detect whether she is really a serial killer murdering
all her lovers  or just a girl looking for love.


The filmmaker of Loveless Zoritsa ( Crne Zorica) here wanted to make a
black comedy, but then it turned out that film has elements of modern fairy
tales and adventure, and most importantly romance. Film targets young audience
and appreciate intelligent humor, it walks out from genre to genre, starting
from black comedy  to an adventure, then back to comedy ...on a simple,
entertaining and non pretentious way

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