Želimir Žilnik: MARBLE ASS

Friday, October 06

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. CDT

Gene Siskel Film Center Theatre 1, 164 N State St

Z?elimir Z?ilnik, MARBLE ASS, 1995. Courtesy of the artist.Želimir Žilnik, MARBLE ASS, 1995. Courtesy of the artist.

Join us for three programs of films by renowned Serbian director Želimir Žilnik, including his essential early shorts (Thursday, October 5, 6:00 p.m.), groundbreaking mid-career queer feature MARBLE ASS (1995) (Friday, October 6, 6:00 p.m.), and recent award-winning feature on the struggles of immigrants and refugees, LOGBOOK SERBISTAN (2015) (Saturday, October 7, 1:00 p.m.). Žilnik will introduce both MARBLE ASS and LOGBOOK SERBISTAN and discuss the ideas, people, and experiences that have shaped his singular process. 

For more than 50 years, renowned Serbian director Želimir Žilnik has produced a body of trailblazing and politically committed films. A key member of Yugoslavia’s rebellious Black Wave film movement of the 1960s and a pioneer of docufiction, Žilnik’s perspective was shaped by atrocity at the hands of Nazis, Yugoslavia’s turbulent history and dissolution, and periods of exile. Over the years, he has used his camera to explore the experiences of outsiders of all kinds, depicting complicated social and political realities from a distinctly human perspective. 

Winner of the Teddy for best feature at the 1995 Berlin Film Festival, MARBLE ASS is Žilnik’s breakthrough celebration of queer life in former Yugoslavia, shot during the Balkans War. Staring the late Merlinka as a version of herself, the film follows the lives of Merlin and Sanela—two trans women who turn to sex work as a means of financial security and an act of political resistance against the militant machismo of wartime culture. Their routine is shattered when Johnny, Marlin’s ex-lover, is decommissioned from the army and arrives at her house full of barely repressed rage. Referencing Paul Morrisy’s FLESH (1968) and Billy Wilder’s SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959), MARBLE ASS is a radically exhilarating mix of political allegory, screwball humor, empathy, and Belgrade’s ’90s underground. (1995, Yugoslavia, Beta video transferred to 35mm, 87 minutes / In Serbian with English subtitles)

Presented in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Literatures, Cultural Studies, and Linguistics and School of Art and Art History.


Želimir Žilnik is an artist-filmmaker from Novi Sad, Serbia. He has made more than 50 feature and short films which have been exhibited internationally.
Žilnik has been the subject of major career film retrospectives at Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2019; Cinemateca Argentina, 2018; Mar del Plata International Film Festival, 2017; Anthology Film Archive, New York, and Harvard Film Archive, 2017; Ankara International Film Festival, 2016; Doclisboa, 2015; Arsenal, Berlin, 2015; CINUSP, São Paulo, 2014; Thessaloniki International Film Festival, 2014; and more. His work has also been featured at Documenta, Kassel; Venice Biennale; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien; Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art; Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Renaissance Society, Chicago; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg’ Lentos Art Museum, Linz; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Deutsches Historisches Museum and Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome; among others.



$13 General public
$8 Students with a valid ID
$6.50 Film Center members
$5 SAIC faculty & staff & AIC staff
Free for SAIC students

Unless otherwise noted, SAIC student tickets are released five days prior to showtime. Tickets must be picked up in person from the Gene Siskel Film Center box office. A student ID is required.


CATE events are presented with real-time captions (CART). Hearing loops, wheelchair accessibility, and companion seating are also available at the Gene Siskel Film Center. For other accessibility requests, please visit saic.edu/access or write cate@saic.edu.


Conversations at the Edge is SAIC’s award-winning media art series, organized by the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation in partnership with the Gene Siskel Film Center and Video Data Bank. For more information, visit saic.edu/cate.