Love Island, where a holiday becomes a wild tango
by Muriel Del Don
- The latest feature film from Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic excited the audience at the Locarno Film Festival with a mix of humour and kitsch, Bollywood-style
Love Island [+see also:
film profile], shown in the huge Piazza Grande during the 67th edition of the Locarno Film Festival, offers a refreshing portrait of a holiday village in the Balkans where anything seems possible and where every fantasy can become a reality. An idyllic parallel society where you can forget everyday life and finally let your wild side loose.
Grebo and his wife Liliane (brilliantly portrayed by Ermin Bravo and Ariane Labed) nine months pregnant, decide to go on a well-deserved holiday to a tourist village on a Croatian island. It’s all-inclusive and the young couple intend to make the most of the entire package deal offered. The holiday atmosphere conducive to carefree flirting and light summer clothes quickly push our two heroes to go beyond their limits. In the idyllic atmosphere of “Love Island” it seems that nothing can go wrong but reality is very different from what it seems and the ghosts of the past don’t take long to emerge.
The new film from Jasmila Zbanic, director of Grbavica [+see also:
interview: Barbara Albert
interview: Jasmila Zbanic
film profile], awarded in 2006 with the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, and of On The Path [+see also:
film profile], also selected in the official competition in Berlin (2010), is a comedy of striking colours and kitsch scenes that recall the bombast of the bollywood industry. A carefree movie, there’s no doubt about it, but refreshing and “weightless” like a holiday itself, an ideal occasion to forget about the burden of a suffocating daily routine. As the director herself said, her intention is to show a parallel universe in which our wild insticts can be liberated, without fear of social judgement, in a climate of tolerance (deliberately artificial) that reminds us how much human beings need, every now and then, to lose control. A holiday, or rather, holiday villages, are like a parallel world located in an unreal time space that influences and changes human behaviour.
Jasmila wishes to film this drastic “change”, this place where new dynamics of community life are created, far from the everyday and from the concerns of a life based on pre-defined social rules. Our director wants to show us the other face of Bosnian society, the part that’s rebuilding itself after the horrors of war. Her latest movie is directly influenced by her personal experience of the post-war Bosnia, a difficult time in which one had to find the strength to carry on despite the atrocities suffered. With Love Island Jasmila Zbanic wants to show another side of her country, she seeks to emphasize the joy and cheer that remain, unbelievably and thankfully, after the war. Hers is perhaps a tribute to the willpower of a country that was nonetheless able, with great effort, to rebuild itself. A country that is still able to laugh and to experience profound emotions, in short: to let itself go.
(Translated from Italian)