The citizens of Belgrade were treated to free cinema admissions for one day on Friday (October 6) as distributors and exhibitors celebrated the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic's ten-year dictatorship.
Among the films screening for free were Mission Impossible 2, Gladiator and Hollow Man. The National Film Archives went one step further, holding a three-day celebration, offering free screenings of domestic and foreign classics, from October 6 to 9.
The Free Cinema Day also marked the end of a general strike - in protest at Milosevic's refusal to accept the victory of opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica - during which cinemas and stage theatres were closed.
Meanwhile the Serbian capital witnessed a dramatic change of tone in its broadcast media last week as protesters taking part in an anti-Milosevic rally seized control of its major TV stations. A news broadcast on state-controlled Studio B TV Channel was interrupted by a young man who announced: "You are now watching a broadcast from the Free Studio B!" Rioters also broke into National TV RTS to inform flabbergasted viewers that "Vojislav Kostunica is the legal president elect in Yugoslavia".
Kostunica's name has previously been all but banned on the RTS. Its director, Dragoljub Milanovic, a keen supporter of Milosevic, was badly beaten by rioters as he tried to escape through the station's backdoor.
Haji Dragan Antic, chairman of Serbian media company Politika and a member of the JUL political party, led by Milosevic's wife Mirjana, also beat a hasty retreat last week. He escaped through the backdoor of Politika's 12-story building in Belgrade along with Goran Kozic, director of TV Politika, which is currently being sued for broadcasting pirated films.