Mihovil Pansini (b. 1926) was a professional physician and a renowned amateur filmmaker, critic, and theorist best remembered today as the main ideologue of anti-film. Both the influential term and the larger trend were first articulated in Yugoslavia in 1962 during the panel discussions among the members of the Kino Klub Zagreb in advance of the first Genre Experimental Film Festival (GEFF 1963), which took place in Zagreb later that year. Since at the time Croatian amateur filmmakers had no contact with the contemporary Western avant-garde film world, the anti-film thinkers’ main inspiration came from theoretical and aesthetic developments in other artistic fields: the nouveau roman, or anti-novel in literature; neo-constructivism, geometric abstraction, and radical informel in the fine arts; indeterminacy in music; and Eugène Ionesco’s absurdist anti-theater. All of these new artistic forms were presented in Zagreb throughout the 1960s through publications, performances, and exhibitions, including the New Tendencies biennial, the Zagreb Music Biennale, and the International Festival of Student Experimental Theater.
Pansini was a keen observer of these events, and he became close with some of the avant-garde artists and theoreticians, particularly those connected with the Gorgona artistic group. This now legendary loose association of visual artists operated in Zagreb between 1959 and 1966 and advocated unconventional forms of artistic activity, as well as radical reductionism in the visual arts, mostly under the influences of Eastern philosophy and existentialism. Pansini embraced and adopted Gorgona’s main principles, paraphrased them for cinema, and in the early 1960s started to make his own films according to such reductionist postulates as, “Film ceases to be a personal expression, an expression of some sensibility; it is nothing but a purely visual-acoustic phenomenon; it is freed of any philosophical, literary, psychological, moral and symbolic meaning." K3 is thus essentially an abstract film and should perhaps be compared, not to other films, but to monochrome paintings, with Pansini trying to reach the conception of emptiness articulated by the ascetic drawings and paintings of Josip Vaništa, the founder of Gorgona, as well as the radical informel works of another Gorgona member, the painter Marijan Jevšovar, whose ultimate goal was anti- or zero-degree painting. Pansini rejected camera work and projected blank film stock onto the screen, putting filters in different colors in front of the lenses. This was the ultimate “anti-film,” which had entirely eliminated images and references to reality. — Diana Nenadić