Bosnian and Herzegovinian Film Days begin in Amman

Quo vadis Aida Film Still
(Photos: IMDB)
Local viewers will get a glimpse into a diverse variety of old and modern films reflecting changes in a society outside their own at the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Film Days.اضافة اعلان

Starting on Tuesday and screening films till Thursday, the event is organized by the Royal Film Commission and held in cooperation with the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Amman.

The four selected films offer various examples from Bosnian and Herzegovinan cinema.

Quo Vadis, Aida by Jasmila Žbanić 
Set in 1995 Bosnia, after the Serbs captured the town of Srebrenica, thousands of civilians sought shelter in the UN camp and were facing total confusion.

The film follows Aida, an interpreter for the blue helmets, who is willing to do everything to protect her family.

Director Jasmila Žanić, known for her Golden Bear awarded film at the Berlin Film Festival “Grbavica (Saravejo mon amour)”, takes viewers back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Quo Vadis, Aida?” looks back at the impact of the Srebrenica capture during the 1990s war in the Balkans and its direct consequences on the local population.

Inspired by real events, Žbanić presented a brilliant story both visually and in writing. Through a biopic of a character developing in a very specific context, viewers could see and identify Aida’s involvement as a spectator with no dilution. The narrative is maintained, and the tension is ever-growing, even for those already aware of the overall outcome.

From start to end, nothing is spared. The viewer is immersed in action and the rare moments of respite are precious. Using an precise rhythm, the narration is perfectly mastered as it plunges viewers uncompromisingly into the complete chaos of the military situation without ever becoming too confusing.

The viewer will remain glued to their seat, wondering if Aida will succeed in saving her family and, if she does, how?

The actors’ interpretation of their characters is excellent. Jasna Ðuričić, as the lead Aida, is one example, but secondary characters, in particular Johan Heldenbergh as Colonel Thom Karremans, impress viewers.

In the end, “ Quo Vadis, Aida? “ is a film that successfully and intelligently revisits a difficult period. The personal angle on the historical event allowed it to deliver a bigger and more resonating impact to audiences.

The film was presented at the Venice Film Festival and awarded the Crystal Arrow for best film at the Arcs Film Festival. In 2020, the film received the Gouna Star for Best Film at El Gouna Film Festival and the Best Director award.

The Son by Ines Tanović’s
In her second feature film, Bosnian director and screenwriter Ines Tanović went with a simple title, “The Son”.

Arman, the film’s 18-year-old protagonist, is in a period of self-discovery — this largely includes the fact that he has to accept that he is adopted and that his birth mother does not want to have contact with him. 

If Tanović’s film Our Everyday Life was about a middle-class family from Sarajevo, the focus of The Son seeks to continue the narrative through the perspective of two teenagers, where the elder is adopted. And as the adopted son makes that realization, he gets into various difficult situations and put’s the whole family in the situation with him. Interestingly, the director said that she perceives all her films so far as stories of the same family.

Dino Bajrović played Arman, but the film also features Uliks Fehmiu, Emir Hadžihafizbegović, and Jasna Ornela Bery, who we already saw in Ines Tanović’s debut. Slovenian actor Jernej Kogovšek also appears in a supporting role this time.

The Son deals with family relationships and growing up in contemporary Sarajevo, still marked by the scars of the Yugoslav war. The film brings to the forefront rifts between generations. The director is mainly interested in the relatively well-off middle class, which tries to provide its children with much more than they can afford.

The film is shot in moderately long frames, and Mitja Ličen did the cinematography. Still, the viewer is deliberately kept at a distance from the main character and his actions.

Two driving frames capture viewers, the first in a taxi ride to the airport, with an insecure Arman looking for confirmation of his existence somewhere outside his realm and being unable to find it. The second is him already driving his car as he takes matters into his own hands and accepts his situation — at least, that is how it seems from his now brighter outlook.

The Perfect Circle by Ademir Kenovic 
The film follows the story of Hamza, a poet living in Sarajevo with his family, as the siege of the city rages on. After sending his wife Gospodja and daughter Miranda to Croatia for safety, he discovers two orphans, Adis and Kerim. Hamza then decides to take them into his home.

Despite Sarajevo living under an uninterrupted rain of bullets, the war in ex-Yugoslavia is not the film’s theme, as there is no definite enemy. Viewers do not know who is shooting, but sometimes a white UN tank can be seen patrolling the area uselessly.

Director Ademir Kenovic is only interested in the daily lives of his protagonists and the small community surrounding them in The Perfect Circle. In the film, this city of ruins where residents cannot run errands without running to avoid snipers, things as basic as eating and sleeping turn into ordeals. But laughing, singing, forming strong friendships, and discovering love, suddenly became of enormous importance.

Despite the struggles, The Perfect Circle is presented like a slow poem punctuated by the melancholic verses of Abdullah Sidran. Politics are absent in the film, and the staging is dry and posed, emphasizing the centrality of the search for meaning in the midst of the absurdity of war.

Some will find that this philosophical approach adds great depth to the film. Others will consider this wisdom a hindrance. But even so, the film challenges viewers.

Do You Remember Dolly Bell? By Emir Kusturica 
In Sarajevo during the ‘60s, Dino, a young teenager from the dreary suburbs, brightens up his life with evenings at the cinema. This reveals to him a Western world full of temptations that help him forget everything else. And when Dolly Bell, a prostitute, is introduced, emotions are explored.

Emir Kusturica based the film on one of the families in Sarajevo, whose members encountered a strange experience. When a girl, a stripper, is left behind with Dino, her entrance creates an imbalance in Dino’s life, moving him from adolescence to adulthood.

The film navigates the influence of communism on Sarajevo societies and the role of indulging in pleasures and desires in these societies. It also offers a view on the loss of so-called morality.

Do You Remember Dolly Bell? she is a woeful presentation of humanity and innocent feelings that become a memory.

The film screenings will be held at the Outdoor Amphitheater at RFC.

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