Bosnian filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić, whose newest function, “Quo Vadis, Aida?,” world premieres Sept. three in competitors on the Venice Movie Competition, is creating a slate of latest initiatives, together with a documentary in regards to the Jewish Bosnian businessman and philanthropist Emerik Blum, Selection has realized solely.
The untitled undertaking tells the story of Blum, the founder and CEO of Energoinvest, an engineering and power firm that ranked among the many largest conglomerates in Jap Europe. Till his loss of life in 1984, Blum was a number one philanthropist within the former Yugoslavia, sponsoring hundreds of scholars via his private fortune and providing firm housing for his workers.
“It is amazing to see this from the perspective of today’s Bosnia and today’s economy,” stated Žbanić, noting how Blum additionally organized concert events in his manufacturing facility with main modern composers. “Can we imagine any CEO doing that now?”
The director can be creating a fiction movie, “My Women,” which follows 4 generations of ladies in her household “who had to overcome societal restrictions, wars, patriarchy—one century of the lives of women in the Balkans,” in line with Žbanić. One other untitled undertaking is a TV collection in regards to the siege of Sarajevo.
The acclaimed director is in Venice for the premiere of her movie in regards to the mass killing of some 8,000 civilians—principally Muslim males and boys—in Srebrenica, a city that was thought-about a “safe area” amid the broader, raging battle of the Bosnian Struggle within the 1990s. The worst act of mass killing on European soil since World Struggle II, the bloodbath was perpetrated whereas U.N. peacekeepers stood idly by, and was later deemed a genocide.
“Quo Vadis, Aida?” was produced by Damir Ibrahimović and Žbanić via the artists’ affiliation Deblokada, which she based, and co-produced by coop99 Filmproduktion (Austria), Digital Dice (Romania), N279 Leisure (Netherlands), Razor Movie Produktion (Germany), Excessive Feelings (Poland), Indie Prod (France), Tordenfilm (Norway), TRT (Turkey), and ZDF/ARTE (Germany). Indie Gross sales is dealing with world gross sales.
Žbanić’s debut movie, “Grbavica: Land of my Dreams,” a few widowed lady and her younger daughter struggling to scrape by in war-ravaged Sarajevo, received the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2006. Greater than a decade later, she returns to the turbulent Balkan conflicts of the 1990s to inform the story of a U.N. translator in Srebrenica, performed by veteran actor Jasna Đuričić, desperately attempting to save lots of her household from the approaching violence.
1 / 4 of a century after the killings, Srebrenica stays a “political minefield,” stated Žbanić, utilized by some in Bosnia as a political instrument whereas denied by many to today. The director knew that navigating such a minefield would pose different challenges as nicely—from financing via the restricted assets of the Bosnian movie trade to depicting historic figures nonetheless alive right now—but she felt an “unbearable need” to inform Srebrenica’s story.
Nonetheless, she had highly effective misgivings. “As a Bosnian filmmaker who survived the war I am deeply close to the subject, but that closeness is not always a good quality for making a movie,” she stated. “You are too involved, too nearsighted, too vulnerable.”
Writing the script, Žbanić needed to see the occasions via recent eyes, “trying to tell the story to an imaginary audience who never heard about Srebrenica, constantly putting myself in a position of one who has this experience at one moment, and a position of somebody who doesn’t know anything about it and sees it for the first time in the next.”
What remained clear all through was her pressing have to current the Srebrenica killings, and their aftermath, with grim readability—to depict warfare in a method that “strip[s] it naked from patriotism and other bullshit that often serve as a cover-up for its banality.”
To that finish, she used the story of Aida to focus on the particular burden warfare locations on ladies, who not solely undergo via the warfare itself however are sometimes left to select up the items afterward. “For me a war is a stage for the performance of sociopaths and psychopaths—they function perfectly there while others are lost and suffering,” she stated. “[The] heroism of women is not the heroism of men.”
Whereas her movie is about throughout a very bloody chapter in latest European historical past, Žbanić described what occurred in Srebrenica as “a serious warning” to the world right now, at a time when populism and nationalism are on the rise globally.
“The film shows what can happen if we don’t have solidarity, empathy, and what happens when our institutions who are supposed to serve and protect society are ruined,” she continued. “Not only the U.N., but all institutions that our civilizations build for the good of a democratic society: from the health care system to the postal service.”
Twenty-five years later, she described the bloodshed of Srebrenica as a reminder of “how easy it is to slip into the unimaginable” by the hands of “irresponsible politicians and their interests.” She added: “I think we live in a time when we can not afford to buy into easy narratives.”