Magical World, 2005 HD
Magical World was shot during a summer day in 2005 in a free after-school center in Dubrava, a suburb of Zagreb. The looped and never ending footage of children rehearsing the 1968 Rotary Connection song “Magical World” (written by Sidney Barnes) acts as an anthem for an uncertain future and presents a glimpse of a country in transformation. Rotary Connection was one of the first racially mixed bands in the US, playing a mix between psychedelic pop- rock and soul music. Active during the social upheavals and the civil rights movements of the 1960s, they reflected, in their personal songs, a desire for change without being – at the time - explicitly political. The film juxtaposes the historical context of this song with the real life of a generation of children growing up in a relatively young country facing the fast-paced development taking place in the face of European demands for future integration into the group of member states. The children, who were all born after the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s, deliver a haunting and hopeful rendition with reservation and pride. In forced and newly learned English, a young Croatian boy sings the enigmatic and defiant first lines; “Why do you want to wake me from such a beautiful dream? Can’t you see that I am sleeping? We live in a Magical World...” The images move from inside the music room to the outside, capturing the worn down surroundings of this cultural centre that was constructed in the 80’s but has been left unfinished, mirroring a community still recovering from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
A film by Johanna Billing. Cinematography by Manne Lindwall. Edited by Johanna Billing. Musical Arrangements by Petra Ježutković. Original song by Sidney Barnes 1968 (Chevis Music publishing Corp, BMI). Featuring: Petra Ježutković, Sonja Borić, Tadej Horwatić-Cajko, Mara Matić-Soldan, Ena & Sara Aničić, Lenka, Martin & Josip Meštrić, Klara & Lucija Petrać, Ivana Lekšić, Nikolina Penić, Zvonomir Retkovać, Mane Galović and Tomislav Djurinec. Co-produced by WHW/ Rooseum. Production Assistant: Sonja Borić