Balkan Art Scene
#SFF22 A Ballad - Only Death Can Stop Us From Living
Bosna and Herzegovina, 2022, 120 min.
Director: Aida Begić
Cast: Marija Pikić, Jasna Žalica, Milan Tocinovski, Lana Stanišić, Slaven Vidak, Enes Kozličić, Davor Golubović, Amar Čustović
SOURCE: EROL ZUBČEVIĆ
Early morning screening - a world premiere - of 'A Ballad' at the National Theater in Sarajevo, film by Aida Begic-Zubcevic. Story follows Meri, as she realizes that she is a prisoner of provincial rules as well as of a complex relationship between her mother and her spoiled younger brother, an indebted gambler.
Film was produced during the lockdown and Covid, that created setbacks in terms of organization. The process was finalized beautiful, as the director Aida stated on the press conference, she had a bigger freedom as an artist and directed the movie as she envisioned it.
IS PATRIARCHY OUR ONLY REALISM?
What I wanted to share here are the elements of realism as a hit in the stomach for the viewer, in almost every scene. These elements are centered around woman's inability to speak up and man's inability to live an emotionally developed life.
As the mood keeps building up in the local atmosphere where everyone is intertwined with each other in a certain way, we can see that the life of each person is filled with stress, nervousness, lack of emotional fulfillment. Meri is the focal character of everyone’s judgement. Exploding under pressure, Meri keeps doing outbursts as the story progresses.
Director Begic-Zubcevic was, as always, original and unique in her choices, something which is not often seen in B&H film industry which often follows a well-structured path of dramaturgy and directing. This time, we can see experiments which are a refreshment, and present a story in a different way.
Each woman feels the pressure of patriarchy, it is gruesome to what level women in Bosnia and Herzegovina still feel enslaved to patriarchy, marriage ‘at the appropriate time’. Let’s say that this is just one of the topics of the marginal groups that are covered in the film. Violence, lack of common sense and several emotionally triggering scenes are a crushing way to send a message of how small and local community can decrease someone’s ability to live their life as they are.
Ending is left as open to discussion in the same way as our reality also is.
Only death can stop us from living.
Author: Hana Tiro