Beautiful prisons set in our modern times

    INTERVIEW: A conversation with Francesco Montagner whose film Brotherhood will have its Czech premiere at IDFF Ji.hlava as part of the official competition.

    Over a warm cup of tea, I had the pleasure to talk to Francesco Montagner about his latest film Brotherhood which premiered at the 74th Locarno Film Festival where it took home the Golden Leopard. The film left me with a sense of attachment to three young Bosnian boys who I had seen grow on screen for over four years, and it left me with many questions to Montagner about the creation of a documentary that resembles so much a fiction film through its sense of observations.

    «I can’t wait to see what the Czech audience will think of my film,» tells me Montagner when I congratulate him about his selection at the festival. Our conversation tackled many themes; from the process of filming such a project, to his characters, his personal journey, and specific technicalities from the shoot.

    My first question was about the main characters of the film: three teenage Bosnian boys with an Islamist father, set in a beautiful landscape of rural Bosnia, where they grow their own sheep. When asking Montagner about how he had come across his subjects and their story, he explains to me that, early in 2016, when ISIS was all over the European news, he had seen them in a TV reportage where they were talking about their point of views in a very open way. Fascinated by the teenagers, their metaphorically prophetic setting, and their willingness to talk openly, Montagner contacted the journalists and got in touch with this family. In the beginning, the film was going to be about the father and his sentence to jail, but as Montagner’s relationship grew with the kids, he quickly realized that the film is actually about them and their journey into adulthood.

    A coming-of-age story of three young Muslim boys set in Europe; I was wondering if there was any fear in Montagner in tackling such a subject that is so far from his own culture.

    Brotherhood, a film by Francesco Montagner
    Brotherhood, a film by Francesco Montagner

    When religion matters

    «I come from a very religious . . .

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