Matija Barl, Iconic ‘Kekec’ Actor, Dead at 78

By , 04 Aug 2018, 13:55 PM News
Matija Barl, in 'Kekec' (1951) Matija Barl, in 'Kekec' (1951)

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STA, 4 August 2018 – Matija Barl, a Slovenian actor and producer best known for his role of the child film character Kekec in the iconic 1951 film, has died, aged 78, according the news web portal of the broadcaster TV Slovenija. 

Barl was eleven when he appeared in the lead role in the first of the three films about the fearless boy and his adventures in the Slovenian Alps, all of them directed by Jože Gale.

The most popular and successful of the Kekec trilogy, the 1951 Kekec was the first Slovenian feature film to win an international award.

The film won a Golden Lion for best film in youth category, for kids aged between 11 and 14, at the 1952 Venice International Film Festival.

Barl later appeared in Good Old Piano, a 1959 feature by France Kosmač, Under Blue Sky, a 1988 TV feature film by Dušan Prebil, and in the 1978 German film Schwarz und weiss wie Tage und Nächte by Wolfgang Petersen.

He also made a brief appearance in the 2002 youth film Pozabljeni Zaklad (Forgotten Treasure) by Tugo Štiglic.

Rather than acting, Barl studied dramaturgy at the Ljubljana Theatre, Radio, Film and Television Academy.

After working as a TV advertising editor with TV Slovenija, he moved to Germany in 1962. He returned to Slovenia after the country gained independence in 1991.

He worked as an independent producer, collaborating with German director Rudolf Noelte, among others.

After a tough shooting spell in Sicily, he left his profession and became a court-appointed interpretor, he told the newspaper Dnevnik in 2006.

Barl died in Marezige near Koper on Friday. The news of his death was announced by the Portorož aviation club, whose member he was.

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