M/C Journal Reviews

Predictions of Fire

Besides being an international film festival favorite (Canada, Russia, New York, Sundance, Sydney), Predictions of Fire has gained such swift cult status that it may be the only movie with a website dedicated to “all discernible written, spoken, sung, or shouted words.” The documentary by expatriate American filmmaker Michael Benson chronicles the rise of the arts collective NSK in the Yugoslav republic of Slovenia. The reactionary movement began in the early 80′s by shock musical group Laibach which gained notoriety by being banned by the socialist regime of Tito. The group’s driving industrial beat and politically charged, stark lyrics attracted the attention and admiration of not only filmmaker Benson, but other art groups such as Irwin, a group of painters, the Noordung Theatre, the New Collectivism graphics group, and assorted philosophers, students, and intellectuals. Their collective collaborations look like a piece of Leni Riefenstahl performance art. They use propaganda techniques and images to attack fascist, communist, national socialist, and capitalist icons and myths. Through historic footage and narration, Slovenia is portrayed as a tiny country caught between the struggles of the East and West. Interestingly, as soon as the Iron Curtain falls, the NSK bring their art to Moscow and New York where critics and peasants alike sing their praises.

This is the first production for Kinetikon, and is released by the prestigious Cinema Guild. These 95 minutes are not for anyone looking to be entertained. Predictions of Fire is dark, broody, and revealing. Recommended for large public and university collections.

– Gerald A. Notaro (University Librarian, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg), M/C Journal Reviews, Fall 1996

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