|Index||3 reviews in total|
I just came home from a screening of Na Putu at the cinema, a new
Bosnian drama surrounding a couple tackling what seems to be a dead end
in their relationship, and I could hardly recommend it more.
First off, the cinematography is beautiful, full of compelling shots of Sarajevo and the Bosnian countryside, as well as piercing, intimate and emotionally powerful scenes between the couple.
Zrinka Cvitesic (Luna) and Loen Lucev (Amar) both deliver beautiful, subtle roles, and the script is extremely tasteful, avoiding clichés and maintaining a believable, intriguing, and above all very humane story. The portrayal of a long-time couple facing a crisis due to one partner radically altering his outlook on life is handled very sensitively and maintains a touching, universal tone.
Jasmila Zbanic manages to organically place this story in current-day Sarajevo without resorting to a schematic presentation of the politics of the war-torn region, nor to a preachy tone. This does not mean she ignores the setting or stays indifferent to it - far from it.
The intimate story intertwines at points with a broader reality, always told through a long silent shot, or hinted out through dialogues. Although I'm no Bosnia-Herzegovina expert, as I have only visited once, I do feel this film transcends the atmosphere in this traumatized country very vividly, without slipping into tackiness or dichotomy.
Looking forward to seeing more from this sensitive, ultra-talented filmmaker.
Very highly recommended.
"Na putu" tells the story of young Bosnian-Muslim couple, Luna and
Amar, living in post-war Sarajevo, and planning on having a baby. Their
idyll is marred: the young man is traumatised from his experiences in
the war, and from losing his soldier brother. He turns to alcohol,
loses his job, but finds another one through a friend. As it turns out
he is being recruited by radical (Wahhabite) muslims, and he finally
decides to compensate his alcohol problem by becoming a radical -- or,
in his view, true -- Muslim. This is unacceptable to Luna, who sees
herself as a modern, moderate Muslim, and has no intention of trading
her wardrobe in to become a "ninja" -- her laconic name for a Muslim
woman fully dressed in a hijab.
The story of "Na putu" is told in a linear fashion. It always holds the attention, and excels at letting us have a peek at the life in present-day Bosnia i Herzegowina. It always remains subtle and plausible and avoids, for example, to portray Amar and his radical Muslim brothers as wide-eyed fanatics and jihaddites; in a way, we understand while he chooses this path for himself, and why Luna seems to choose another one.
The also excels through great acting, amazing cinematography (it's shot on a Red digital video camera by the way, and the picture quality is stunning) and apt direction.
Simple scenes stay in mind. Such as when Luna films Amar with her cell phone while he's sleeping, and then watches the movie on her pillow when he's gone. Or when Amar protests against Luna grabbing his crotch in bed, to show that he is changing from lover to religious hothead.
Every film Jasmila Zbanic directed is excellent. This one as well.
It deals with post war Sarajevo. For details about film see other reviews. I will just add that if you are interested in ex Yugoslavia and its history this one is another must see.
Sarajevo today looks best it ever did. For a visitor. The problem is that city is not safe. Petty theft abounds, I myself was robbed and assaulted many times. Non Muslims are not treated well. When I visited American Embassy in Sarajevo last time, they told me that for the USA, Bosnia-Herzegovina is a failed state and except for a short visit they do not recommend foreigners, especially Americans to stay for a longer period of time. Once prosperous communities of Croats, Serbs, Jews almost totally disappeared from Sarajevo. Especially Jews do not exist any more. Are there 200 souls of them left in Sarajevo? It is dubious. But Wahhabite Muslim extremists are on the rise, one of them shot with Kalashnikov on the American Embassy a year ago.
I do not feel free walking streets of Sarajevo.
But still people like Jasmila Zbanic, Danis Tanovic, my father and the similar succeed to live and maintain careers in Sarajevo and are happy living in it. There are still good people in Sarajevo, it is just so hard to find them out.
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