Tatjana Dunja Ivanišević

The photo provided by Dragana Ivanišević Matić

23.7.1942 – 11.10.2014

They loved me very much, I can’t deny that. Women were their inspiration, I could talk to the directors about film, offer them ideas, debate with them, but they photographed me more than they considered me an equal.

Tatjana Ivanišević, better known as Dunja, was the first female author in the Cine Club Split, and her only film Žemsko/Gal (1968) is considered to be the first feminist film in the region.

She was born in 1942 in Split. She graduated history at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, and spent her career as a history professor at the Natko Nodilo Gymnasium in Split and the School of Fine Arts. In addition, she wrote poetry all her life.

In the mid-1960s, she completed the film school of the Cine Club Split, surrounded by colleagues who vied for her attention, while devoting their attention primarily to her appearance instead of her work. In such an unequal and uninspiring environment, having passed the exam and gained the status of an amateur filmmaker, she managed to fight her way to a few meters of film tape. She then hired cameraman Andrija Pivčević and actress Iskra Kuzmanić and made a short experimental film Gal. The film focuses on the protagonist’s intimate moments, her frustrations and fantasies shaped by stereotypes and ideals from women’s magazines. 

After the shooting and post-production, the film was stored in the Cine Club’s archives and was not shown at the festival in Pančevo together with the works of other members. For a long time, it was not even known that the film existed. It saw the light of day only two decades later, at the Alternative Film Meeting in Split in 1987, thanks to Dunja’s friend Lordan Zafranović, a renowned Yugoslav director whose career had also begun within the Club.

Gal was the first and last film Dunja made. “I was going to keep working, but that situation with the first film discouraged me. After that, I dedicated myself to my family and my teaching work,” she explained in an interview. It is primarily women who have tried to reevaluate and preserve the film from oblivion: film critic Diana Nenadić, artist and professor Sandra Sterle, and current director of the Cine Club, Sunčica Fradelić.

Dunja Ivanišević passed away in Split at the age of 72. Nowadays, her film is finally available online.

Cine Club Split / Youth Centre, Sloboda Street 28, Split

Cine Club Split, founded in 1952, brings together people who are interested in audiovisual culture and art. It established itself in the 1960s thanks to the "golden generation" of filmmakers, among whom there was only one woman - Tatjana Dunja Ivanišević. It was not until the mid-1980s that women became more actively involved in the work of the Club. Alternative Film Meeting in Split, where Dunja's film had its first public screening in 1987, took place at the Golden Gate Cinema within Diocletian's Palace.