Roko and Cicibela

This video is an excerpt from a 1978 movie called Roko and Cicibela that was filmed in Komiža. The film was directed by Stipe Delić, with Boris Dvornik as Roko and Semka Sokolović-Bertok as Cicibela.

“Roko i Cicibela”, Komiža, 1978

The film is based on real-life people and events from the first half of the twentieth century, about a couple that lived on the outskirts of society and became a symbol of love.

Roko Ljubica, also known as Balauska, and Dujka Bašić, also known as Cicibela, the daughter of Špiro and Manda, who both died when she was young, leaving her with nothing. Roko was a fisherman who lived on a gajeta (fishing boat) in Matejuška and fell madly in love with Dujka, as she did with him. They got married in Split, and both being dirt poor, they continued living on abandoned boats for decades. Tourists noticed and filmed them. They died as they lived—together, tightly clinging to each other.

Their story became a famous love story; however, aside from romanticizing an undoubtedly difficult life, there is one more important thing that can be said about this: ridiculed and marginalized people in society often have a unique role as truth-sayers and demistificators, and besides remembering the rare and brave ones who never conformed to the rules of society, we should try and keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open to them, and perhaps even not be afraid to take up that kind of role when the opportunity arises.

Roko and Cicibela