SERBIA: A locked door inside a Belgrade apartment has kept one family separated from their past for over 70 years.
A flat in a Belgradian town house, in which the educated, well-off Turajlic family had lived, was partitioned to house two additional families at the onset of the Communist revolution in Yugoslavia of the 1940s. The doors between the part where the Turajlic family was allowed to remain and the two newly-formed nationalised thirds of the flat have been locked and glued shut to remain that way for 70 years – which is when Mila Turajlic’s mother, Srbijanka Turajlic, who at the time of the partition and nationalisation was two years old, decides to apply for restitution of her family’s former real estate, in order to be able to bequeath it to her children. In the historical space in between those two events, the documentary film The Other Side of Everything happens. The door being locked and shut and then only opened three-quarters of a century later makes for lovely bookends for the story, which, as its central motif suggests, happens at the crossroads of the historical, the personal and the political.
The Other Side of Everything is an examination of three distinct political and historical periods of the country, during which the door in the middle of Srbijanka Turajlic’s flat is closed shut: The era of Yugoslavia as a Socialist Federal Republic, the period of the breakup of the federation, the rise of ethnic nationalism and Slobodan Miloševic’s rule, and finally, the contemporary Serbia, which is at least nominally supposed to be on its way to a true multi-party democracy. In examining the past of her mother, her family and her country, Turajlic firmly positions herself in the contemporary tradition of the more and more subjective documentary practices, which incidentally have been embraced in large part by female documentary filmmakers.