Rajko Grlić was born in 1947 in Zagreb, in a family of intellectuals – his parents were writers, his mother wrote for newspapers and his father, a university professor of aesthetics, wrote philosophical treatises. Before he moved to Prague as a 20-year-old, where he would acquire a degree in directing from the prestigious film academy, he had also published literary contributions, short stories and poetry in relevant magazines (Telegram, Razlog). The central part of exceptional cinematic career is delineated by two historical breaking points: the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, when he faced the breakdown of political ideals as a member of the student boars of strikers, and the war-wrought collapse of the Yugoslav federation, with drastic consequences to the understanding of his position and the world he creatively focused on. A trained director and an established teacher of directing, Grlić is first and foremost an integral filmmaker, producer and screenwriter – consistently with his literary gene – who will win the audience’s affection, even before he finds a screenwriting helping hand in Ante Tomić, with the legibility and atmosphere of his dramaturgically simple and yet psychologically demanding film tales, many of which – like the claws of life and you only love once – are collectively remembered as replicas. Although he himself admits that among many important honours he still most lovingly remembers his first serious prize, the one for short film, is the timeline of his achievements were placed in a cultural context, again those beyond the elementary sequence would prevail among the honours: The Best World Multimedia, the best multimedia project award in New York City in 1998 for How to Make a Film, Interactive Film School, which he wrote, directed and produced. This project, until this day considered unprecedented in its category, came when he was 50. Relocating into the American film dimension, Grlić never abandoned or neglected the manners of a Cannes main selection participant, coming from the margins of Europe, the character and narrator of Untold Tales.
(Photo © Darije Petković)