Crno-bijeli svijet (Black & White World) is a TV series with elements of comedy that follows the stories of two families from Zagreb, Croatia in the early 1980s. The centrepiece of the first storyline is Ksenija Kipčić (played by Jelena Miholjević), a typist and a neurotic single mom raised in a fine bourgeois family. The show begins with her older son Voljen Kipčić aka Kipo (played by Filip Riđički), a journalist of Studentski list (a university students’ weekly magazine) returning from serving his time in the army. Back home, he catches up with the quick urban pace, always on the lookout for breaking news and good parties. In his pursuits he is accompanied by his best friend and the magazine’s photographer Đermano Kurtela aka Žungul (played by Slavko Sobin). His and Kipo’s adventures walk us through the urban settings of the Zagreb of the 1980s – the belle époque of parties, rock concerts, and hot spots. We follow them as they come and go to their editorial office and meet a variety of famous or notorious characters of the time (from rock stars, critics, journalists to police inspectors). This storyline has its younger, teenage version, as we follow the adventures of Kipo’s little brother Žac (played by Karlo Maloča). He and his best friend Nenad (played by Ivan Validžić) have their ups and downs (first love, rock obsessions, clandestine viewings of erotic films). The family story is spiced up by their mother (Kipo’s and Žac’s) marrying their friendly neighbour Dominik Bertalan (played by Franjo Kuhar) in secret. Dominik has secrets of his own, and his eccentric sister and painter Dunja Bertalan (played by Elizabeta Kukić) forces her way into the family.
The other storyline takes us to the home of Kipo’s and Žac’s father Jura Kipčić (played by Sreten Mokrović). Jura is a successful public company manager whose managerial skills and mule-like integrity stick out like a sore thumb in the mainstream socialist setting with which he is often at odds. His second wife Jagoda (played by Anica Dobra) is a Belgrade-born, resolute yet gentle woman with an eye on material things. Her daughter Una (played by Kaja Šišmanović) is an A-level student with a sober outlook on the world around her and the ambition to find a place for her ska-punk band in the vibrant rock scene of Zagreb.
The protagonists’ everyday lives and little adventures are intertwined with the current goings on in the society of the 1980s – its social events, rituals, customs and predicaments (Tito’s death, civilian preparedness drill, military service, shopping in Trieste, power cuts, oil crisis that led to regulations banning use of private vehicles every other day, politburo meetings, and so on) and the rise of a new urban culture with its landmarks (rock an pop evergreens, youth papers and progressive magazines such as Polet, Studentski list, Start, and Džuboks, cult TV series and films, legendary football matches, and heralds of consumerist society) that brings new winds of liberal society and an explosion of creative urban energy, of the downfall of the socioeconomic system and of the myth about “brotherhood and unity” of nations that will eventually end up in the breakup of Yugoslavia. With its high-level production, the show revisits the spirit of the early 1980s not only through these two storylines but also through the picture (costumes, makeup, hairstyles, interiors, vehicles of the time) and sound, audio-visual inserts, and the reconstruction of the authentic locations from editorial offices, rock clubs, youth hot spots, coffee houses, shops, cinemas, and military barracks.
comedy, drama, 2014