In recent days I have read about yet another news event, yet another feminicide. Even three in one day. And again, forgive me for the parallel, I don’t know why it comes to me, but maybe it makes sense, I read some very violent comments to a post by a minor girl who asked distraughtly why she should be forced to keep a child who was the result of violence she had suffered, they answered her “why do you want to do to this poor little one the same violence you suffered“, or “yes you do it and then you give it up for adoption“. I don’t know, those comments seemed to me like blades sinking into the flesh of that poor girl and all women … and I wondered why I was getting this parallel, surely a bit extreme, with feminicide. I can’t tell at all, I can only tell about somewhat vague, nebulous thoughts that I can’t grasp, I only know that in both cases I am left with a strange feeling of helplessness and mute disbelief, I lack the words to say… and so I look for images, images to resist, to tell about something possible, a possible refusal, a resistance. And so I get to tell about a wonderful documentary I saw recently that struck me, because it deals with another great tragedy, ethnic rape in a country at war. But the beautiful thing about this documentary, Bosnia Express, by Massimo D’orzi, is that he chose to tell about a war and its aftermath without any violent images, any images of death. It tells the story of war through women and their ability to resist, to reject the violence they have suffered, to reject it on a personal and social level, to revive and live in spite of it all, untangling themselves with strength and elegance, as in a dance, among the contradictions and conflicts of the country in which they live. And even more interestingly: the documentary was also very much liked by the children, who in the many meetings there were during the screenings always asked many interested questions.
Since the editor is a woman, Paola Traverso, it occurred to me to ask her a question: how did you manage to tell this story of resistance and tell it in a way that resonates even with those who knew nothing about that war?
PV: “The founding choice was to completely eliminate images of destruction and death, which instead are the only images that a war can generate. To leave violence totally out of the picture and to bring out the life, the resistance, the courage of women who are, together with children, the main victims of wars. The news is usually all too redundant with rubble, we are bombarded, it has to be said, by the tragic images of a conflict, which risk covering and preventing us from questioning what lies behind the violence and forgetting, erasing, omitting that vital drive that has always opposed it. We wanted to make beauty the protagonist in open contrast to criminal brutality especially that of ethnic rape, bringing to the fore especially women, girls, young artists and musicians. Art and creativity, proper to all human beings, as resources to reject destructiveness, not to be crushed and succumb overwhelmed by wounds and paralyzed by the sense of helplessness that generates a war. The other challenge was to look for an unconventional way of telling, a language and therefore an editing that was consistent and harmonious with this basic choice, away from “reassuring” solutions on which to rest the flow of the story. Thus we arrive at the resonance you speak of, also found among young people who saw the film and were not even born in the years when the conflict in the former Yugoslavia was taking place.
Their interest raised questions for us, and among the reasons, deduced from some of their comments, is precisely the language of the film, which can be disorienting, without a linear progression, with seemingly strange juxtapositions and an unpredictable rhythm also linked very much to the use of music within the scenes as well as the soundtrack. Evidently this for young people is interesting and dialogues with their curiosity and openness to the unknown.”
Bosnia Express will return to Rome for the fourth time next Aug. 24, at 9 p.m., at Tiber Island, as part of the 17th edition of the international film and culture festival “Isola del Cinema.” I am going to see it again, to sing about resistance together with the women of Tuzla and to talk more with the director and the editor about the beauty of women.
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