Tribute: Rade Šerbedžija

Born in 1946 into an ethnic Serb family living in Croatia, actor, director and musician Rade Šerbedžija was among prominent film and theatre actors in former Yugoslavia. In 1969, he graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts of the University of Zagreb and then worked as a theatre actor in the City Drama Theatre Gavella and at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. One of those actors who have mastered the art of sovereign acting so they are able to respond to various demands of theatre and film with flair and ease, Šerbedžija has a broad register of acting techniques, excellent diction, discipline in building characters and the capacity to carry convincingly a variety of character “masks”, which makes him able to play a wide range of roles, from classic to contemporary, from tragic to comical, from grand to genre. Šerbedžija is a true “renaissance man” of our time as he is successful at many different art disciplines: theatre and cinema acting; directing (12 stage plays and one film); Maecenatism (he founded Ulysses Theatre on the Brijuni islands); mentoring (he is acting teacher at universities in Zagreb and Novi Sad); writing (he has published four books
of poetry); and music (he has released four albums). In theatre, he has outstandingly rendered Peer Gynt, Don Juan, Hamlet, Richard III, King Lear, or Oedipus. Along with Vanessa Redgrave, he founded a theatre that has staged plays such as Brecht in exile, The Liberation of Skopje, Smoke or Opera Sarajevo. He has appeared in more than seventy films shot by most prominent Yugoslav and Croatian directors such as Fadil Hadžić, Krešo Golika, Živojin Pavlović, Vatroslav Mimica, Rajko Grlić, Goran Marković, Miša Radivojević, Lordan Zafranović or Anton Vrdoljak. He has delivered some of his finest performances in Crveno klasje (1970), Hajka (1977), Bravo maestro (1978), Variola Vera (1982), Kiklop (1982), Zadah tela (1983), Una (1984) and Život je lep (1985). After a world success of Macedonian film, Before the Rain (1994), in which he played the leading role, he has been cast in films shot by first-class world directors such as Stanley Kubrick (Eyes Wide Shut, 1999), Philip Noyce (The Saint, 1997), Clint Eastwood (Space Cowboys, 2000), John Woo (Mission: Impossible II, 2000), and Francesco Rosi (The Truce, 1997). He has starred alongside John Turturro, Tom Cruise, Glenn Close, Val Kilmer, or Elisabeth Shue. This year, the Bratislava International Film Festival will honour Rade Šerbedžija by bestowing upon him the Award for Artistic Excellence in World Cinema.

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