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Famous Like Me > Director > V > Antun Vrdoljak

Profile of Antun Vrdoljak on Famous Like Me

Name: Antun Vrdoljak  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 4th June 1931
Place of Birth: Imotski, Hrvatska, Yugoslavia
Profession: Director
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Antun Vrdoljak (born June 4, 1931) is Croatian actor, screenwriter, film director and politician.

Antun Vrdoljak was born in Imotski, which was part of Yugoslavia at the time. He studied acting at the Academy of Drama Arts at the University of Zagreb. His acting debut was in 1957 film Nije bilo uzalud. One year later he receive great deal of attention with his portrayal of simple country youth in H-8. In 1960 Pula Film Festival he received Golden Arena award - Yugoslav equivalent of Oscar - for his role in a nuclear holocaust film Rat.

In late 1960s Antun Vrdoljak gradually switched to film directing. He received a great deal of praise for his two early films - Kad čuješ zvona (When You Hear the Bells) and U gori raste zelen bor (There Grows the a Pine Tree in the Woods). Both films, based on the diaries of Croatian Partisan leader Ivan Šibl, gave very honest portrayal of complex WWII realities in Croatia and difficult choices many people had to make in those times. Vrdoljak also worked on television, with his 1971 mini-series Prosjaci i sinovi, based on the novel by Ivan Raos, later receiving a cult status.

After Croatian Spring Vrdoljak was associated with Croatian nationalism, but authorities nevertheless allowed him to continue with his career. This included lavish adaptations of Croatian literary classic like Kiklop (1982) and Glembajevi (1989).

When first democratic elections were announced in Croatia, Vrdoljak was among 200 top intellectuals publicly endorsing moderate Coalition of People's Accord. By the end of campaign, he switched his support for more hardline Croatian Democratic Union and Franjo Tuđman with whom he developed close friendship.

On May 30, 1990 new democratically elected Croatian Parliament convened and Franjo Tuđman was elected President of Croatian Presidency according to old Communist-era Constitution. Antun Vrdoljak became one of country's six vice-presidents. As such, he was entrusted with the supervision of 1990 European Championships in Athletics in Split, which was supposed to be the first big test for new government. There Vrdoljak showed many authoritarian tendencies, but also a great organisational abilities. He also made good impression of international sports officials that would later help him become member of International Olympic Committee.

In December 1990 new Croatian Constitution was adopted, ending the office of vice-president. Few months later Vrdoljak was appointed to the post of general manager of Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT). There he supervised the purges of employees with ethnic Serb background and those associated with former Communist regime. He also had important role during the war between Croatian government and Krajina Serbs backed by Yugoslav army. Vrdoljak had HRT logistically and technically well-prepared for the hostilities, while its programme was comprised of crude but effective propaganda, which many critics later saw close to hate speech.

Apart from helping Croatian war effort, HRT under Vrdoljak was completely in service of Franjo Tuđman and HDZ. Vrdoljak was working very hard to prevent any criticism of government in the programme, while Croatian opposition was systematically ignored or occasionally attacked. However, this wasn't enough for Vrdoljak's passionate temperament. He went even further in his defence of Tuđman. In 1992 he suggested that opposition leader Dražen Budiša shouldn't be trusted because of his "Byzantine blood", in other words, ethnic Serb origin. When Bad Blue Boys, fans of NK Dinamo, booed Tuđman in protest over change of their club's name to NK Croatia, Vrdoljak said that "those hooligans should be beaten to a bloody pulp".

Such statements led many in Croatia to call for Vrdoljak's dismissal, but the criticism only helped Tuđman to view Vrdoljak as his most trusted and loyal associate. Knowing that he had full backing of President, Vrdoljak continued to make even more outrageous statemens and insult people. Because of that Vrdoljak became arguably the most despised Croatian politician of its time. It is said that the incident in Trieste, when got beaten by Italian police during water polo match riot, caused celebration in many areas of Croatia.

At the same time, Vrdoljak was one of the rare members of Tuđman's inner circles to oppose or not to fully endorse some of the shadier aspects of privatisation.

Vrdoljak was finally removed from the post of HRT general manager in January 1995. Although he kept a Sabor seat and many important positions, he gradually retired from politics and Tuđman's inner circle.

After HDZ lost power on 2000 elections, Vrdoljak decided to return to filmmaking. After securing funding from new government, he directed Duga mračna noć (Long Dark Night), epic mini-series about WW2 in Slavonia.

Antun Vrdoljak was married twice and has four children. He is also known as father-in-law of Croatian actor Goran Višnjić.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Antun Vrdoljak