SEE Factory Sarajevo mon amour (2019)

SEE Factory Sarajevo mon amour
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 11.06.2020

Sarajevo mon amout collects five loosely connected short films that are all set in Sarajevo. Other than that, the films don’t have much in common, but I found all of them pretty strong in their own way, with The Right One and The Package particular stand-outs for me.

The film poster showing cartoonish eyes on a blue background. The directors' names are written in the irises.

More about each of the films after the jump.

In Your Hands
Director: Masa Sarovic, Sharon Engelhart
Writer: Masa Sarovic, Sharon Engelhart
Cast: Mediha Musliovic, Lidija Kordic

Azra (Mediha Musliovic) picks up her daughter Lejla (Lidija Kordic) from the airport after she spent some time studying abroad. But instead of a normal return home, Azra has some surprises for Lejla, and none of them are great.

In Your Hands kicks the collection off to a breezy start as we get plunged into a situation that is as disorienting for us as it is for Lejla. Even has you ask yourself, what the hell, there is a bit of a laugh to be had, though the pain that triggered the events is also real. It’s not outright funny and it’s a bit uneven in places, but it’s enjoyable enough.

A human shape covered by a red blanket.
In Your Hands

The Package
Director: Dusan Kasalica, Teodora Ana Mihai
Writer: Dusan Kasalica, Teodora Ana Mihai
Cast: Boris Ler, Marija Pikic

Damir (Boris Ler) is a saxophonist who is supposed to play a concert in Sarajevo after spending some time in Paris. Before the concert, he is supposed to deliver a package to Elma (Marija Pikic), a friend of a friend. But the simple delivery does not go as planned.

The Package has a very unique atmosphere with so many things hanging up in the air. Damir’s confusion about the situation is palpable, as is Elma’s desperation (Ler and Pikic are fantastic). And yet, there is a touch of hopefulness there that is quite devastating in its fragility. On top of all that, the film looks beautiful. I was very impressed.

A man, a woman and a baby sitting on a couch.
The Package

The Right One
Director: Urska Djukic, Gabriel Tzafka
Writer: Urska Djukic, Gabriel Tzafka
Cast: Mirjana Karanovic, Muhamed Hadzovic, Doroteja Nadrah

A mother (Mirjana Karanovic) prepares everything to meet her son’s (Muhamed Hadzovic) new girlfriend (Doroteja Nadrah). But the meeting takes a turn when the two women are left alone for a moment.

The Right One vies for the top spot with The Package, at least in my book. The situation should be so simple, but it is not. The mother who still does everything for her well-grown son is somewhere between uncomfortable to see another woman having his affection, and worried that her son might turn out like his father – and that wouldn’t go well for the girlfriend. The way this is played out and set in scene (with some clever camera work) was just amazing to watch.

Two women sitting on a sofa, having coffee.
The Right One

Director: Neven Samardzic, Carolina Markowicz
Writer: Neven Samardzic, Carolina Markowicz
Cast: Jelena Kordic, Adela Petrovic, Mero Beganovic, Slaven Vidak

Anka (Adela Petrovic) mostly just hangs around with her friends in front of the supermarket, hoping to score a few coins to get something to eat. Yelena (Jelena Kordic) works at said supermarket and usually indulges Anka. But today is not a good day for any of them.

Spit was a bit too depressing in its inevitability for me, but it does touch on important topics like the treatment of Roma people, and the pressures of capitalism (for a very short summary). It was not bad, it just didn’t resonate with me as much as the preceding to shors.

Two dishevelled teens sitting outside.

The Sign
Director: Eleonora Veninova, Yona Rozenkier
Writer: Eleonora Veninova, Yona Rozenkier
Cast: Jelisaveta Seka Sablic, Andrea Akovic, Igor Skvarica

Sara (Jelisaveta Seka Sablic) has asked her granddaughter Andrea (Andrea Akovic) to bring her to the cemetery, so she can visit her dead husband and enlist his help to stop Andrea from marrying a muslim. As Andrea gets angrier and angrier, Sara hopes for a sign from above.

The Sign was the funniest of the films, which honestly just means that it, together with In Your Hands, had some sense of humor because the others were very serious. While there is a serious core here, it is cushioned by that humor. It rounded out this short film and the entire collection very nicely.

An old woman visiting a cemetery.
The Sign

Summarizing: a strong collection.

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