Enclave: The challenges of being a Serbian minority in Kosovo
by Laura Nanchino
- Serbian director Goran Radovanovic looks into a rather sensitive topic: the living conditions of those Serbians who stayed in Kosovo after the war
Following a premiere at Belgrade FEST 2015 and the Audience Award he snagged recently at the Moscow International Film Festival, Serbian director Goran Radovanović is competing in the national competition of the Cinema City International Film Festival in Novi Sad (Serbia) with his second fiction feature, Enclave [+see also:
film profile]. In this film, the director addresses a politically delicate topic: Kosovo’s Serbian minority, five years after the war.
Enclave opens in a classroom, which contains a schoolteacher and a single pupil, ten-year-old Nenad (Filip Šubarić). The little boy is reading an essay on his dying grandfather, Voja (Meto Jovanovski), his only friend. Over and above being a difficult family ordeal, this situation leads to another difficulty that is both political and religious in nature: the grandfather has to be given the last rights with the help of the orthodox priest (Miodrag Krivokapic), and be buried in the cemetery located in “enemy” territory. Indeed, the family lives in a Serbian Christian enclave surrounded by a large Albanian Muslim community, in difficult conditions characterised by the journeys undertaken in an armoured tank under the protection of the international community, the power cuts, the livestock thefts and the use of a horse-drawn cart to move around within the Serbian enclave.
This spiritual quest also gives young Nenad the chance to get closer to the children belonging to the Muslim majority (one of whom is Denis Murić, who played the lead in No One’s Child [+see also:
film profile]) and to make friends with them. But the children’s games, which have been heavily influenced by the war, are also violent. Is it possible for the communities to coexist? Radovanović seems to give a rather pessimistic answer to this question by offering us a tough and subtly nuanced portrait of the Albanian majority. It is only the human and personal relationships between the children that allow us to make out a glimmer of hope, even though a better way of life is perhaps to be found elsewhere: in migration and the “normal” life in Belgrade.
(Translated from French)