Windows to the Past: Balkan War Reflections
To evoke in images a five-year-long conflict that at various points involved altogether six parties and resulted in the breakup of the Former Yugoslavia is a difficult task and carries the risk of being unfair in covering all aspects of this complex and devastating war. Therefore, this retrospective chooses to look beyond the political and to scrutinize individuals who, regardless of their position in the conflict, were all deeply scarred and find it difficult to recall experiences that have been shaped by the absurd realities of war.
Mandy Jacobson’s and Karmen Jelinčić’s documentary Calling the Ghosts. A Story about Rape, War and Women portrays Muslim and Croat women who survived the horrors of the Omarska concentration camp and who lobby tirelessly to have rape included in the international lexicon of war crimes by the UN Tribunal in The Hague. Nenad Puhovski’s Lora – Testimonies revisits the prison located in the Lora military harbor area in Split where over 1000 prisoners from Dalmatia, Yugoslavia and Bosnia Herzegovina were held from 1992 until 1996. The film contrasts the memories of torture and inhuman conditions with the stance of the irresponsible officials who claim to be unable to remember any of it. Heddy Honigmann’s Good Husband Dear Son takes us to Ahatovici, a picturesque village in the green hills outside Sarajevo, where almost all the men were executed and the buildings burnt to the ground. A photo, a watch, a handkerchief – the only material traces that remained – are supplemented by the wealth of memories shared by wives, mothers and daughters. Namik Kabil takes an inquisitive approach in Interrogation to find out how civilians coped with the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and finds that denial overshadows memories. Finally, in Three Goran Dević takes a ride with three men actively involved in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia who – though they fought on different sides - share similar doubts and disappointment.
Girls and boys, men and women, soldiers and civilians remember this long and bloody conflict that left behind regrets and agony for so many. But only through their stories can we grasp the single common view they all share: war is an absurd machinery and the void that it leaves behind can only be filled by revisiting memories and confronting history. This retrospective evokes past perspectives that feed on memory in the hope of a better future.
The program was made in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations – Office of the Western Balkans.
Mandy Jacobson & Karmen Jelinčić / USA / 1996 / 63 min / Bosnian & Croatian
Two women from Bosnia-Herzegovina are caught in a war where rape was as much a weapon as bullets. Having survived the notorious Omarska concentration camp, they lobby to have rape included in the international lexicon of war crimes.
producer: Mandy Jacobson
editor: Suzanne Rostock
camera: Mario Delić
sound: Kristen Thomas, Mario Vargović
music: Tony Adzinikolov
Women Make Movies
462 Broadway, Suite 500WS
New York, NY 10013
tel.: + 1 212-925-0606
Mandy Jacobson: Wide Angle - Road to Riches (2003) / Locked Up (2001) / Calling the Ghosts (1996)
Heddy Honigmann / The Netherlands / 2001 / 50 min / Bosnian
The widows of Ahatovici remember their husbands and sons who were killed in the Yugoslav civil war in 1992. The beauty of memory and love through a dense layer of grief.
producer: John Appel
editor: Patrick Minks
camera: John Appel
sound: Piotr van Dijk
music: Hesperion XXI
Appel & Honigmann / VPRO Television
Interkerkelijke Omroep Nederland (IKON)
1217 SE Hilversum
tel.: + 35 672 7272
Oblivion (2008) / Emoticons (2007) / Forever (2006) / Framed Marriage (2005) / Give Me Your Hand (2004) / Food for Love (2004) / Crazy (2000) / Hanna lacht (1999) / De juiste maat (1998) / 2 Minutes Silence, Please (1998) / The Underground Orchestra (1997) / O Amor Natural (1996) / Goodbye (1995) / Metal and Melancholy (1994) / Ghatak (1990) / Your Opinion, Please (1989) / Mindshadows (1988) / The Front Door (1985)
Namik Kabil / Bosnia and Herzegovina / 2007 / 42 min / Bosnian
An investigation of the trauma and denial, which have become a dominant – but silent – dimension of everyday life in the post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina.
producer: Amra Bakšić Čamo
editor: Timur Makarević
camera: Almir Djikoli, Boris Jugo
sound: Igor Čamo
music: Dino Šaran
Sarajevo Center for Contemporary Art - SCCA
Obala Kulina bana 22
Bosnia & Herzegovina
tel.: + 387 33 665 304
Magnet (2011) / Vjernici (2009) / Nightguards (2008) / Crna hronika (2004)
Nenad Puhovski / Croatia / 2004 / 65 min / Croatian
Does anyone remember what happened in the Lora concentration camp, in Croatia, 1992-1996? If they do, do they want to?
producer: Veran Matič, Nenad Puhovski
editor: Žarko Korač
camera: Silvestar Kolbas
sound: Mladen Škalec, Tomislav Hleb
music: Pere Ištvančić
Factum Documentary Film Project
Nova Ves 18
10 000 Zagreb
tel.: +385 1 4854 821
Together (2009) / Pavilion 22 (2002) / U pozadini (1984) / Pet filmova o Nives K.K. (1980) / Groznica (1979) / Bog igre (1975) / Tojota Korola 1000 (1974)
Goran Dević / Croatia / 2007 / 30 min / Bosnian & Croatian & Serbian
Three former soldiers from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia remember the war. Even though they fought on different sides, they all agree on its tragic absurdity.
producer: Nenad Puhovski
editor: Vanja Siruček
camera: Jure Černec, Tamara Cesarec
sound: Hrvoje Grill, Zlatan Čehić
Factum Documentary Film Project
Nova Ves 18/3
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
tel.: + 385 1 48 54 821
Don Juan: Excuse me, Miss! (2011) / Poplava (2010) / The Blacks (2009) / Ma sve ce biti u redu (2008) / Masturbation Among Croats (2003) / Vikend u Sisku (2001)