The Labudovic Reels
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Stevan Labudovic, the cameraman of Yugoslav President Tito, takes us on an archival road trip through the birth of the Non-Aligned Movement. Revealing his role in filming the Algerian revolution, he plunges us into the heart of an epic battle of images in which cinema gave voice to a decolonising world.
In an unexplored vault in Belgrade, the capital of the former Yugoslavia, lies a collection of films known as “The Labudovic reels”. On them are images of African and Asian liberation movements of the 60s and 70s. How is it that the images of these revolutions lie on another continent, forgotten in a film archive? The answer to this question takes us into the story behind the images told by the man who filmed them. Stevan Labudovic was assigned at the age of 27 to be the cameraman of Yugoslav president Tito. For more than two decades he filmed Tito’s visits to newly-independent countries. From Mali to Indonesia and the halls of the United Nations, Labudovic’s camera captured an era of politics, personality and promise. Sent on a mission by Tito to support the Algerian war of independence by providing them with images of their struggle, Stevan would play a key role in the information battle against colonial powers. The Labudovic Reels takes us on an intimate voyage through a life dedicated to the filmed image. Through the friendship that develops with the young director, the question of the role of the camera in defining a political moment comes to the fore.