336 pp., 7 x 10 in, 150 color illus., 200 b&w illus.
- Published: February 2, 2021
Explorations of the radical film praxis and extensive oeuvre of filmmaker Želimir Žilnik.
Shadow Citizens offers insights into the radical film praxis and extensive oeuvre of filmmaker Želimir Žilnik (b. 1942). Since his beginnings in the lively amateur film scene of Yugoslavia in the 1960s, Žilnik has made more than fifty films, often in the genre of docudrama. Many of Žilnik's films have anticipated real-world events—the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the economic transition from socialism to a neoliberal order, the annihilation of workers' rights, and wider social erosion related to labor and migration.
The title, Shadow Citizens, reflects Žilnik's lifelong focus on invisible, suppressed, and under- and misrepresented members of society. As a concept, “shadow citizens” is related to “amateur politics” as a form of political engagement—the imaginative and subversive non-normative knowledge and alternative sensibilities that lie dormant but occasionally push back against politics as usual. Courageous amateurism is prominent in Žilnik's films, both as a concept and as a method, and the texts in this book elaborate on the potential of shadow citizens and the pressures of the amateur undercurrent in emancipatory politics and artistic production. The notion of shadow citizens, conceived as different minorities that are increasingly becoming majorities everywhere, runs through Žilnik's oeuvre, where it is used to imagine a new concept of citizenship that pushes current limits and borders.
Boris Buden, Greg de Cuir Jr, Ana Janevski, Dijana Jelača, Edit Molnár, Bert Rebhandl, Marcel Schwierin, WHW, Želimir Žilnik