677 concentration camps were set up during the Bosnian war. The way the victims and the perpetrators within each community deal with this legacy will determine the country’s future. Moving from a dark dystopian view to an uplifting optimism, this film shares the viewpoint of each ethnic group through a new generation coming to terms with their toxic past. Living in a Bosnia fighting for EU membership, they’re desperate to find a way to live together for a peaceful tomorrow.
“All the Serbs are Ratko’s soldiers,” the crowd sing as they dance, arms interlinked, to the beat of the music. Here the ex-Serbian general on trial for war crimes is still a national hero. Under brilliant sunshine at a rally protesting against his arrest a woman holds a portrait of Mladic and exclaims proudly, “General Mladić is in my heart.” This is the kind of partisan feeling that still exists among the old generation and that has kept post-war tensions between Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats running high.
But behind the soapboxes lies a more complex drama that has unfolded since the war. As former combatants struggle with being both perpetrators and victims of violence, their children must forge a new future. “All I can hope for now is that the bitter souls of my generation will simply disappear. The new generation can learn nothing from us except for negative things,” Tatjana’s father tells us. Brutal pictures of the war are a painful reminder of his service in the army and events he will not speak of now. For Tatjana her father’s dreadful wartime legacy and his consequent drug addiction are not easy burdens to bear. “Many people in this town know more about him than me. It’s not nice to hear the stories.”
The new generation also shares bitterness about the past. Kemal, 19, lost his mother and one of his legs during the conflict. “Can you imagine someone ordering the killing of a woman who is carrying a child?” But despite this, for Tatjana, Kemal and Luka, all from different ethnic backgrounds, the future is not dark. “When I see that our leaders cannot agree on something, I realize that we, the new generation, are getting on together just fine.” They look forward, trying to move beyond their past. “Our names are who we are, but we don’t need to dwell on it.”
PCRC worked with Director of Photography Mirko Pincelli and Pinch Media to produce Uspomene 677. This feature documentary was selected for the Raindance Film Festival in London where it was nominated for ‘Best Microbudget Film’. You can purchase or rent Uspomene 677 here.
Uspomene 677 (Memories 677) – Kemal