Three short films were shown. The first, a mockumentary titled ‘I am Adnan and I Will Not Blow You Up’ was a satirical take on the paranoia induced in society by the skewed media promulgation of the threat of terrorism. The protagonist and director, Adnan Smaji?, relates his own experience using random shots of himself through a CCTV camera and narration. Using punchy one liners, he criticizes negative stereotyping of conservative Muslims. Around the time of the civil war, he relates, his elders told him lots of men with large beards had begun showing up; he doesn’t remember and has to take their word for it, but notes that whenever things start to go south, there always seem to be bearded men around.
In the second film, ‘Whatever Will Be, Will be’, directed by Esma Saric, a bumbling first time robber breaks into the house of an old pensioner who couldn’t care less about the intruder, and even advises him where his pitifully meager savings are hidden. But each time the robber tries to leave with his loot, the old man asks him to leave a little money behind for rent or food, until the robber’s conscience compels him to add money of his own to the old man’s savings and leave them with him. It is a social critique beautifully delivered with dry humor and wit.
Jasmin Pivic’s ‘One Way Ticket’ addresses the issue of the youth of Bosnia and Herzegovina leaving their homes in increasing numbers in search of work. The protagonist is a young man with a top notch university degree who has no money, and, unable to find a job locally, is forced to leave and go abroad. His father is shown as a soldier who emerged in victory from the civil war, but who, like other parents of his generation, is witness to a draining of talent and youth from their own lands for lack of opportunity. The fact that there is no dialogue spoken in the film adds to its poignancy and highlights a pervasive problem effectively.
The evening ended with a musical performance. Ambassador Makarevich and Arieb Azhar were on vocals and guitar, with Arieb Azhar also accompanying on a kind of traditional drum. The gentlemen led the delighted audience through two rousing Bosnian love songs, in a traditional music form that Ambassador Makarevich explained had existed for atleast 500 years. The haunting strains of ancient music and the robust voices transported the crowd from an ordinary auditorium to the hills and valleys of a land of passion and beauty. To close the session, Arieb Azhar sang an old Bosnian song about a Christian man who sings his love for an extraordinarily beautiful Muslim woman he cannot marry.
The evening continued with a screening of acclaimed Pakistani film Moor, a discussion with filmmakers Yasir Jaswal and Jami, and a late screening of the film Zinda Bhaag. The Festival continues tomorrow afternoon, with lots more to come. Go there!
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