Berlin - Bosnian film wins two Silver Bears

The film festival's cheapest, because it cost only 17 thousand euros, came from Bosnia and Herzegovina and won two major awards from the Berlin Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize and Best Actor. Its director, Danis Tanovic, is no stranger, because he won an Oscar for best foreign film and best director award in 2001 in Cannes.

This time, Danis Tanovic directed a movie based on a complaint published in Bosnian newspapers. It was a Bosnian Gypsy family, whose mother of two children had been excluded for medical treatment due to lack of health insurance.

Pregnant for the third time, she began to experience painful cramps in the belly. Led by the husband to the hospital, there was the death of the fetus and the need to make a quick curettage. However, the family did not have health insurance and have to pay a large sum for this operation. Faced with the impossibility of paying family intervention for living in extreme poverty, the hospital refused to do the operation and sent her back home, even at the risk of death.

Danis Tanovic decided to write the scenario of the film: An episode in the life of a collector of old iron was inspired from real life. Therefore, he decided to go and meet the family, limited resources for filming, decided to have the family itself to film the episode of their social exclusion. A pregnant mother died not only for having used the proof of health insurance from her sister.

The crew consisted of eight people and worked benevolently. The complaint about this exclusion, probably motivated by being a gypsy family, came from an NGO for human rights. As the family had two little girls, the team with three cameras stayed in the house for some time, until the children became accustomed and forget the cameras.

Her husband, who lives as a collector of old iron found in the trash or taking apart abandoned cars, agreed with his wife to reconstruct, on camera, the dramatic situation experienced. The participation of the husband, Nazif Mujic, was so convincing that he ended up winning the award for Best Actor.

Rui Martins

Translated by Olga Santos


Portuguese version


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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey