email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest


Crítica: Novi Sad Remembrance


- En su segundo largometraje documental, Aleksandar Reljić aborda el Holocausto, su recuerdo y las narrativas cambiantes que lo rodean

Crítica: Novi Sad Remembrance

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

Some events can morph into regional or national trauma that can last for decades, or even centuries. In the case of the city of Novi Sad in Serbia and its South Bačka surroundings, the traumatic event in question is something people simply refer to as “The Raid”, which took place in January 1942 in the wider context of World War II and the Axis advances, followed by gruesome war crimes against civilians. The event itself, the remembrance of it privately and officially in Novi Sad, and the ever-changing official narrative around it are the topics of Aleksandar Reljić’s sophomore feature-length documentary, Novi Sad Remembrance, which has just premiered in Beldocs’ national competition.

(El artículo continúa más abajo - Inf. publicitaria)

The events around the raid itself are well known. The pretext for the occupying Hungarian forces’ punitive expedition in South Bačka county were attacks by local partisans on Hungarian and German troops. The first raids took place in villages in the north of the county, such as Čurug, where the forces killed Jewish and Serbian civilians, throwing their bodies in the Tisza and Danube rivers before moving south to encircle and raid Novi Sad. The total number of victims, mainly women, children and the elderly, was around 4,000, one-third of them in the very city of Novi Sad. The perpetrators were members of the Royal Hungarian Army and some Hungarian civilian volunteers loyal to the occupier. There was also one episode that stands as an exception to the rule of senseless massacre: in the village of Kovilj, the local Hungarian army and civilian authorities succeeded in protecting their Serbian neighbours.

The historical basis is pretty much fixed, but Reljić uses the device of following a protagonist. Secondary-school sociology professor Marija Vasić speaks about the Holocaust in Novi Sad, to her students, family members and at public lectures, and she also writes books revolving around survivors’ stories, for which she also interviews two elderly men (Dr Teodor Kovač and writer Ivan Ivanji, both of whom died earlier this year) and one woman, Marta Flato, who was a baby back then and was saved by sheer luck. Vasić radiates conviction and therefore serves as an excellent protagonist in Reljić’s simple and effective directorial approach that gets the story told, which is to be expected, bearing in mind his background as an investigative journalist. The technical components, such as Goran Velemir’s camerawork, Zlatko Zlatković’s cutting and Vladimir Drašković’s sound design, also do so in an unobtrusive manner, while the mournful score by Mihajlo Obrenov and Milan Kerezović Keckec on piano and strings seems like an obvious, but fitting, choice.

When it deals only with the historical facts of the raid, Novi Sad Remembrance seems like a simple, TV-friendly, educative and informative documentary, but both the filmmaker and the protagonist harbour more activistic ambitions, at least to problematise how the events are remembered and how different narratives around remembrance are constructed, depending on the political moment. In that regard, neither of the two is afraid to get openly political, but never in an overly ostentatious manner. It’s too bad that these particular layers did not get more screen time, since it would have made the film appear a little more poignant. Nevertheless, it would be unfair to say that Novi Sad Remembrance is anything less than a solid, to-the-point documentary.

Novi Sad Remembrance is a Serbian production by Core Dox in co-production with Al Jazeera Balkans and BIRN Serbia.

(El artículo continúa más abajo - Inf. publicitaria)

(Traducción del inglés)

¿Te ha gustado este artículo? Suscríbete a nuestra newsletter y recibe más artículos como este directamente en tu email.

Privacy Policy