Vlada Petric was born in Bosnia in 1928. He graduated from the Philosophic Faculty of the University of Belgrade in 1958 and received an MA at the Academy of Theater and Film in Belgrade in 1960. He studied at the High Film Institute (VGIK) in Moscow (1963-4), and received the first PhD in Cinema Studies at NYU in 1972. He was a Professor of Film History at the Academy of Theater and Film in Belgrade (1950-1969), the first Henry Luce Professor of Cinema at Harvard (1972-1997) and the founding Curator of the Harvard Film Archive (1978-1997). He has lectured extensively at universities across the United States and Europe.
Petric's published works include: Introduction to Film (1968), Development of the Film Genres (1970), Television – The Seventh Force (1971), D. W. Griffith: A Corner in Wheat (1978), Six Essays on Film (1980), Film and Dreams: Focus on Bergman (1981), Constructivism in Film: The Man With the Movie Camera (1986) and Memories of a Movie Monk (1999). He has contributed theoretical essays to many leading film magazines.
Petric has also directed several experimental films, including: The Fatal Thirst (20 min., 1956), The Cage (50 min., 1966), Light Play: A Tribute to Moholy-Nagy (30 min., 1990), Symphony of Hands – video essay (10 min., 2008) and The Wall of Memories – video essay (1997, a work in progress). He has produced numerous theater and television plays in the former Yugoslavia and most recently organized the conference on “Cinema d’Auteur” in Belgrade in 2008, on the basis of which the book, Entertainment or Art: The Quandary About Film d’Auteur, was published (2009).