The selector of regional docs at the Sarajevo Film Festival presents the highlights of this year’s selection and recent years’ Balkan docs.

Ten years have passed since the end of the horrible war in the former Yugoslavia, a decade that signified a period of transition in which many countries in the Balkans have been facing hard times. After the establishment of new political systems or even whole new states in the Balkans, filmmaking became more than just a matter of culture. It is considered to be the most profound manner of expressing a national identity and of giving a recognisable voice that echoes abroad. It is also an attempt to reflect on the political events as well as to re-conciliate and consolidate with one another.

Humour and Self-irony

Although one cannot consider Balkan cinema as an aesthetically common notion, a specific quality distinguishes the new films coming from the different parts of this region: a humour full of self-irony and dark, pitiless contemplation on the misfortune of Balkan heroes. A new generation of young directors is successfully combining the “auteur cinema” approach, trying to come up with a very personal cinematic language, with stories being processed smartly in a more accessible way.

Maybe one of the most memorable films from the region is the Bulgarian documentary “Whose Song Is This” by Adela Peeva that brings out the mentality of the Balkan people in a mocking and humorous manner, showing at the same time the darkest sides of the neighbours who are ready to start a war in a dispute over a song. Or the remarkable documentary “The Bridge” that Survives by Mira Erdevicki that balances between a tremendous uplifting spirit and the tragic destinies of the musicians from the divided city of Mostar. Similarly, the documentary “Imported crow” by Goran Devic, an innocent document on birds, provides a hilarious but deeply serious metaphor for the former political climate in Croatia.

Balkan Docs Anno 2006

Alen Drljevic

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