Rajko Grlić logo

You Love Only Once

Samo jednom se ljubi (1981)

Director: Rajko Grlić
Screenplay: Rajko Grlić, Branko Šomen
Cinematographer: Tomislav Pinter
Music: Brane Živković
Editor: Živka Toplak
Production designer: Stanko Dobrina
Costume: Maja Galasso
Cast: Predrag Manojlolvić, Vladica Milosavljević, Mladen Budiščak, Zijah Sokolović, Erland Josephson
Producer: Sulejman Kapić
Produced by: Jadran Film, Zagreb, 1981
35 mm - color - 103 min

(Distributed in the USA as The Melody Haunts My Reverie)

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You Love Only Once <em>© Dalibor Martinis</em>
© Dalibor Martinis

"One of the rising stars in Eastern European cinema, Rajko Grlić explores the post-war origins of ‘certain current states of mind’ in Yugoslavian culture. Melody is the story of an idealistic young partisan war hero who becomes a leader in the emerging socialist society of a small Croatian village, and finds adjustment to the ‘new Yugoslavia’ extremely difficult. In the course of his duties he meets and falls in love with a middle-class ballerina, presumable sent to the country for ‘cultural rehabilitation.’ Becoming involved with her bourgeois family and caught within the contradictions of his society’s shifting and evolving morality, he descends into disfavor with the authorities and is eventually imprisoned. In the end we witness the final tragedy of his emotional defeat as he fails to reconcile divergent currents of personal and cultural reality: basing his story on a diary of actual events that followed World War II, Grlić’s strong direction recreates the harsh realities of a world in transition. The sobering truth within his film is that it is ‘a story... which could happen today as it happened in the period of the film.’" - Ellen Slatkin, Denver International Film Festival

Premiered in Un Certain Regard at the Official Program of Cannes Film Festival, France. It was awarded "Grand Prix" and "Best Actor" awards at the Valencia Film Festival, Spain, "Trinacrya Award" Erice Film Festival, Italy, critic award for the "Best Yugoslav Film 1981," Croatian National award, "Nazor Award", "Grand Prize" and "Public Award" at the Nis Film Festival. Selected by Yugoslavian film critics as one of the "ten best Yugoslavian films ever made."

The film was also selected as "One of the Best Foreign Feature Films" on the American video market by Facets. It was distributed by Bezubov Inc., New York.


Critical Response

...It was decided unambiguously to award the ‘Grand Prix’ to a Yugoslav film by Rajko Grlić, Samo jednom se ljubi, for having presented in cinematic language with great perfection the problems of a man confronted with the use and abuse of power...


...Rajko Grlić’s film brought surprise to the Cannes festival...

LE MONDE, France

...After ten years of being censored, finally comes to our parts Rajko Grlić’s film...


...The creation of a type, without stereotype, of this dedicated man destroyed by the early changing face of socialism, the sharply etched direction of Rajko Grlić and perceptive script, and fine acting by Manojlović and Vladica Milosavljević as his wife mark a new movement in Yugoslav film worth watching.


...Rajko Grlić’s film is a beautifully shot, exceedingly well-acted account of the self- destructive love affair between a raw ex-partisan and a bourgeois ballerina in the first years of the Communist consolidation. Although politics are mainly in the background, the film’s lush fatalism says it all.


...Grlić’s movie also boasts one of the most disturbing endings in recent European cinema.


... Highly sensual romance between a crude ex-partisan and a well-bred ballerina whose love is as passionate as it is politically catastrophic.


Photo gallery

You Love Only Once <em>© Dalibor Martinis</em>
© Dalibor Martinis
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