Ninth Circle, The (aka The 9th Circle): France Štiglic’s Yugoslavian Nominee for the Best Foreign Language Oscar (Cannes Fest, Jewish, Nazism)

France Štiglic directed The Ninth Circle a Yugoslavian film about the Croatian Ustaše concentration camp named The Ninth Circle, based on the infamous Jasenovac concentration camp.

Deveti krug
Девети круг
Deveti krug VHS.jpg

In the early 1940s, after the German invasion of Yugoslavia and creation of the Ustaše-run Croatian Nazi puppet state, citizens of Zagreb face many hardships. Life is especially difficult for the Jewish population that’s marked for extermination.

In order to save a Jewish girl named Ruth from the Nazis and their collaborators, a Croatian Catholic family arranges for her to marry their son, Ivo.

The young man, despite understanding the necessity, is unhappy with this disruption to his careless youth. Thus, at at first, disliking the girl, he dismisses her as “a mere child” and continues to date his best friend Magda.

Aware of his marriage, Magda seeks to distance herself from his advances. When a drunk Ivo calls her to his bachelor party, it results in discomfort for her, and their relationship ends.

Angered by this, Ivo has an emotional outbreak upon returning home, causing Ruth to run out into the dark streets, where she expose herself to passing patrol, only to be saved at the last second by Ivo’s father.

Critical Status:

The Ninth Circle was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film, but did not win.  The winner was Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring.

It also played at the 1960 Cannes Film Fest.

Credits:

Directed by France Štiglic
Written by Vladimir Koch, Štiglic, based on Zora Dirnbach story.