Bosnian and Herzegovinian Film Days

A cinematic journey of drama and reflection

(Photo: Royal Film Commission)
The second edition of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Film Days is set to commence on Wednesday, July 31 captivating its audiences with three Bosnian films, including: “Full Moon,” “A Ballad,” and “Men Don’t Cry.” Providing the audience with thought-provoking cinema, the themes of the films this year focus on corruption, justice, female empowerment, and the lasting impact of war. اضافة اعلان

Organized by the Royal Film Commission and the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Jordan, the three free screen films are to take place at The Royal Film Commission’s Outdoor Amphitheater. Each film provides insight about the country’s culture, history, and societal issues through the lens of filmmakers.

So let us take a deep dive in the three films that will be screened.

“Full Moon”A movie about the road to redemption.

"Full Moon" is a compelling Bosnian drama film directed by Nermin Hamzagic, released in 2019. This dark and suspenseful drama delves into themes of corruption, justice, and redemption. The film follows Bosnian police inspector Hamza, who is called in to work a night shift. As he deals with a series of cases, he must confront not only the challenges of his job but also his own inner demons and the corruption prevailing within the police force.

The movie boasts stunning cinematography by Amil Dakoli, creating a gloomy and ominous atmosphere that mirrors the broken society plagued by corruption and poverty. Amidst this intense night, coinciding with a full moon known to influence human behavior, Hamza faces a grueling workload that sheds light on the prevalent problems and injustices in Bosnian society.

"Full Moon" artfully blends elements of human drama and crime thriller, drawing parallels to the works of Sidney Lumet. Director Nermin Hamzagic exhibits a confident and skillful approach to storytelling, immersing the audience in the struggles of a decent man navigating an impossible situation. Alban Ukaj delivers a compelling performance, adding depth to the film's emotional impact.

The movie's strong casting leaves a significant impact, with each character contributing to the film's immersive experience. Notably, Jasna Diklic shines as the lonely older woman Meliha, delivering a scene-stealing performance.

"A Ballad”A brave drama of feminist resolve and emotional struggles

"A Ballad" is a captivating Bosnian drama film written and directed by Aida Begić, released in 2022. The film, with a runtime of 120 minutes, revolves around the poignant struggles of Meri, a thirty-year-old woman caught in the turmoil of a not-quite-married and a not-quite-divorced situation. Meri embarks on an emotional journey to regain custody of her eight-year-old daughter, Mila, after the end of a turbulent relationship with her former partner, Hasan.

Its empathetic character study and endeavor to infuse life into a soap-opera-like storyline is interesting, however, the movie has also been criticized by some for its uneven execution and stylistic flights of fancy that don't always land smoothly. Some elements, such as the Brechtian coda and the incorporation of feminist themes, are recognized as artistically exciting and ambitious.

Director Aida Begić gained recognition for her previous works, including "Snow" and "Children of Sarajevo," both acclaimed and awarded at Cannes. However, "A Ballad" takes a more experimental approach, deviating from the focus on war's impact to explore personal and emotional struggles.

The film's central character, Meri, skillfully portrayed by Marija Pikić, is presented as a passive protagonist, and the story delves deep into her emotional journey and quest for independence. However, some critics note that the plot relies heavily on scriptwriting contrivances, leaving certain storylines unresolved and evoking a sense of bemused bathos among the audience.

Despite its ambitious narrative and artistic intentions, "A Ballad" is considered a film that may have limited impact beyond ex-Yugoslavian territories. Nevertheless, its unique approach and exploration of feminist themes make it an intriguing addition to Bosnian cinema. The film is expected to continue its festival journey and attract the attention of audiences interested in character-driven dramas and experimental storytelling.

"A Ballad" is a brave and artistically exciting Bosnian drama that delves into the emotional struggles of its protagonist as she grapples with a complex custody battle and the challenges of a not-quite-marriage situation. Although it may have its uneven moments, the film's exploration of feminist themes and incorporation of stylistic experimentation add depth to its character study. For those seeking thought-provoking films and a unique storytelling approach, "A Ballad" offers an intriguing and immersive cinematic experience.

“Men Don’t Cry”A tale of confrontation and what happens after.

"Men Don't Cry" is a moving drama released in 2017 and directed and written by Alen Drljević. Set in Bosnia and Herzegovina, fifteen years after the war, the film follows a group of middle-aged Yugoslav War veterans who embark on an extended group-therapy session at a remote mountain hotel. During this therapy, the complexities of their pasts and the enduring effects of the war come to the surface.

The movie delves into the emotional struggles of these former soldiers as they grapple with their deep-seated emotions and haunting experiences from the war. The characters are depicted as holding onto their masculinity and prejudices, hindering them from fully confronting the inhumanity they endured during the conflict. The narrative skillfully explores themes of masculinity, trauma, and the profound impact of war on individuals and society.

"Men Don't Cry" was well-received by audiences and critics alike, earning critical acclaim. It was chosen as the Bosnian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards, representing Bosnia and Herzegovina in the international film competition. Although it did not secure a nomination, the film received recognition at the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize in 2017.

The film boasts a remarkable cast, including Boris Isaković, Leon Lučev, Emir Hadžihafizbegović, Ermin Bravo, Ivo Gregurević, Sebastian Cavazza, and Izudin Bajrović.

"Men Don't Cry" offers a poignant portrayal of war veterans confronting their past traumas in a therapy setting. Its exploration of the complexities of masculinity and the enduring impact of war make it a thought-provoking and impactful drama.

The three film screenings will take place at RFC’s outdoor amphitheater starting on Wednesday, July 31 at 8pm. 

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