In 1971, as part of the Belgrade Film Festival, Yugoslavian filmmaker Karpo Godina put six young contemporaries to the test. He crafted a project in which he—alongside Miloš Forman, Buck Henry, Frederick Wiseman, Tinto Brass, and Dušan Makavejev—were to shoot an collaborative cinematic experiment. Titled I Miss Sonja Henie—named for the Norwegian figure skater and film star who had passed away but a few years prior—the task was for the directors to shoot a one-room short film in which they all contributed their own 3-minute segment.
I Miss Sonja Henie was all to be set in one attic and had to include the titular line, “I miss Sonja Henie.” It was all shot over the course of a single night and, as the location Godina chose to film in was close to the Beograd Theatre, the filmmakers were able to make use of its wealth of costumes and props. There are only two actors, who are confined the one-room attic setting, and the result is a “slew of scenarios often imbued with the kind vulgarity and absurdity expected from the talent involved.” Speaking to the experience of the ’71 festival, Forman said:
I received an invitation to the film festival in Beograd. Yugoslavia was sort of a renegade, but still – it was a communist country. Therefore I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it. In those days from time to time the Czech secret police hijacked emigrants and took them back to their homeland where they were taken to court. I was afraid of that, but a friend of mine, Dusan Makavjev, convinced me that they were going to take care of me and everything would be fine. And everything really went fine, I could walk around and I watched the movies, until the day, when at about 2 a.m. someone suddenly started knocking at my door – and there was Dusan saying: “Do not ask me anything, pack your luggage but leave it here. We are going to take care of it later. At five o’clock you must be ready at the back door of the hotel. I’ll pick you up.” I asked why and he told me to have a look out of the window. Two cars which the secret police had been using at that time were parked there. It was easy to understand that they hadn’t come to admire the beautiful architecture. Therefore I left the hotel at five in the morning using the back door, and Dusan gave me a lift to the railway station, as he didn’t dare to take me to the airport. On the train I was accompanied by his friend till I crossed the Austrian border.”
And thanks to The Seventh Art, we’re now aware the film—in its two parts is available to enjoy online. Take a look for yourself below. Also, by the by, this is quite NSFW.