science 10.9.2018 11:39

Kinodvor presenting African adventure of inventor Codelli

Ljubljana, 10 September - A remarkable story of Baron Anton Codelli (1875-1954), known for bringing the first car to Ljubljana in 1898, presented in a docufiction film will be screened at Kinodvor on Monday evening.

The film intertwines documentary research by a team led by actor Primož Bezjak and Codelli's grand daughters with live action featuring Slovenian and African actors and more than 600 photos from Codelli's hundred-year-old archives.

In the film, Bezjak and Codelli's grand daughters follow the traces of a lost film that Codelli produced in 1914 and eventually manage to bring it to Ljubljana.

Codelli, an inventor and adventurer from Carniola, present-day Slovenia, set out to Africa's Togo between 1910 and 1915 to build a telegraph station for the German telecommunication company Telefunken. He built the station in the middle of the jungle and thus set up the first wireless connection between the German colonial Africa and Europe.

In 1912, a film crew led by German adventurer Hans Schomburgk arrived in Togo to shoot a documentary about the African wild. Hoping to make money in the emerging film industry, Codelli made a production contract with Schomburgk, thus becoming the producer of the first live action film ever shot in Africa.

Schomburgk hired an English cameraman for the project, while the script for the film entitled The White Goddess of Wangora was written by Codelli's mother, Baroness Rozalija.

The story of a little girl being washed ashore of an island inhabited by cannibals, who then raise the girl as a goddess, allegedly inspired the famous story of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Tonight's event at Kinodvor, marking the start of the film's general release, will also honour the memory of film heroine and Codelli's grand daughter, Baroness Livija Barba von Waxestein Reden, who died in April.

The screening will be accompanied by live music, while a small exhibition of classic cars will also be set up.

The film, directed by Miha Čelar and produced by Astral Film, RTV Slovenija and the Slovenian Film Centre, premiered at last year's Festival of Slovenian Film and was later featured at several European festivals of documentary film. It has received the award for best film photography among Slovenian documentaries shot in 2017.