Snow falls on the Croisette
Aida Begic’ debut feature Snow [+see also:
film profile] had its world premiere as part of the Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival. Like her Sarajevo Film School classmate Jasmila Zbanic, who won the Berlin Golden Bear in 2006 for her debut feature Grbavica (Esma's Secret) [+see also:
interview: Barbara Albert
interview: Jasmila Zbanic
film profile], it looks at the plight of women in a country still trying to come to terms with its recent, violent past.
It is 1997 and in the largely destroyed Bosnian village of Slavno, six women, four girls, and old man and a mute boy try to eke out a living by selling jam. All their family members have been wiped out by the war, and its wounds are still fresh and deep. When two strangers arrive at the isolated village with a proposal for its last inhabitants and an autumn storm traps them all inside the village, an unexpected showdown occurs between the strangers and the villagers.
Using a cast and crew of mainly first-timers like herself (with the notable exception of an aged Emir Hadzihafizbegovic as the old man), Begic has made a feature that looks at a familiar theme in Balkan cinema from a fresh point of view and with a raw energy that is especially noteworthy in the work of cinematographer Erol Zubcevic and actress Zana Marjanovic.
“During the war, when you don’t even have the basic elements of life like fresh water of food, you start to think about things differently,” explained Begic, who herself was in film school during the war. “It may sound overly romantic to insist that the struggle for truth and freedom is worthwhile, but if art is not there to remind us, what is?”
The film was produced by Sarajevo-based Mamafilm in co-production with Germany’s Rohfilm, French production outfit Les Films de l'Après-midi and an Iranian partner. The film will be distributed in France by Pyramide, who also handle international sales.
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