Δευτέρα, 5 Ιουλίου 2010

GO WEST (2005). ΒΟΣΝΙΑ-ΕΡΖΕΓΟΒΙΝΗ: ΔΙΕΜΦΥΛΙΚΟΤΗΤΑ ΣΤΑ ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΠΟΛΕΜΟΥ.

Go West (2005)
Bosnia - Herzegovina
Director: Ahmed Imamovic.
Principal cast: Mario Drmać, Tarik Filipović, Rade Šerbedžija, Mirjana Karanović.
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The war in Bosnia which took place between 1992 and 1995 was a grim affair. Its effects will linger on for generations and its heritage will haunt not only the Bosnians themselves but also the rest of the civilised world for many years to come. Some issues will only be dealt with properly when the biggest wounds have healed. As you can see in Germany, it has taken the country 60 years to produce „Der Untergang" (The Downfall, 2004) which offers a nuanced portrait of Adolf Hitler as a person and „Mein Führer - Die wirklich wahrste Wahrheit über Adolf Hitler" (Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler, 2007) which is in fact a comedy. Since the end of the war, there have been made several films in Bosnia & Herzegovina dealing with the issue. Actually, most of the films recently produced in Bosnia & Herzegovina have been related to the war in one way or another. "No Man's Land" even won an Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film in 2002. In many ways, Bosnian films dealing with the war and subsequently post-war traumas are expected, and hardly anyone would have batted an eyelid in connection with another film dealing with these issues, if it wasn't for the fact that "Go West" evolves around a gay couple.
The film director Ahmed Imamovic became known internationally as a result of his graduation project from the Bosnian Film Academy, a 10 minute long film appropriately called "10 Minutes" which almost immediately won him the Best European Short Film Award in 2002 (see a separate blog entry for this film). I believe, this partly explains why he got the green light to go ahead with his first full length feature project "Go West" despite the controversial choice of main characters. And the choice indeed proved to be just that -- controversial. Long time before the film was even completed, Ahmed Imamovic received death threats from upset Muslim fundamentalists. Commentators found it obscene that a film about such a great tragedy as the Bosnian war would involve portrayal of "sexual perverts" and argued that its "sacrilegious" premise would disgrace the whole Bosnian nation. However, the indignation mostly vanished after the film was released and shown in cinemas all across Bosnia & Herzegovina. The main message of the film is about humanity and the tragedy of war and it has seemingly also been received as such by the general Bosnian audience.
Some people criticise "Go West" for making a mockery of Serbs, generalising about a whole people. And yes, some scenes seem somewhat exaggerated and caricaturising: the singing well-wishers arriving at the wedding on what seems to be the biggest truck known to mankind, the war-mongering but legless priest, the chainsaw-playing twins. I was never there myself, so I couldn't say for sure, but somehow even those characters don't seem too bizarre and out of place and time. To be honest, the relative comic relief which they offer is rather reminiscent of some of the characters in Emir Kusturica's film universe and you can hardly accuse him of being anti-Serbian. The madness of war brings out many things in people. Tim Judah, the author of the book "The Serbs. History, Myth and The Destruction of Yugoslavia" and a former Balkan war correspondent, quotes a psychiatrist who stayed in Sarajevo throughout the war saying that his mental patients "had had some improvement, by contrast normal people had got worse". When seemingly normal people turn into mass murderers almost overnight, you can definitely believe a few bizarre characters in "Go West". On the other side, you also see ravaged characters, people without any future hopes, only past to turn to for comfort. People who also know it all too well. The totality of the ongoing tragedy weighs heavily on most characters in this film. The others, those taken over by insanity, will unavoidably have to deal with it later. If they survive, that is.
"Go West" is not a "black" film despite its rather "black" premise. Most of all, I think it is a film about the human spirit which will prevail in even the most unhuman circumstances. It is about that ray of hope. It is about immense loss, but also the courage to continue. The cello shall play on!

From: ciwciwdotcom
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