Moving Pictures (Berlin)

Predictions of Fire

The bitter war in the former Yugoslavia has preoccupied daily global attention, yet very few Westerners have been able to imagine how it appears from the inner life of the people. The New York journalist and photographer Michael Benson is in that minority. During the 80’s he spent a long time in the former Yugoslavia, and he lived through Slovenia’s transition to independence. Besides that, he was the first representative of the American press to report on the Soviet underground rock scene (for the US magazine Rolling Stone, among others). In his documentary Predictions of Fire, Benson concentrates on the work of the Slovenian art movement NSK (Neue Slowenishe Kunst), which consists of the painter’s group Irwin, the theater group Red Pilot (also known as Noordung), and the industrial rock group Laibach – who with their powerful songs thematised the political and cultural problems of their country. Although Predictions of Fire presents the work of the NSK collective and relates it to the history of ex-Yugoslavia, it is more than just an art documentary. Benson’s film provides surprising insight into the conflicts of a collapsing state, as it does into the trauma of each East and Central European person who over generations grew up under the yoke of totalitarian regimes. The Slovene newspaper Dnevnik wrote that Predictions of Fire is “the Slovene answer to Kusterica’s Underground.

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