“I have never been so sure of anything in my life as making this film”
– In her project, winner of the Cineuropa Marketing Award at When East Meets West in Trieste, the director will delve into her personal experience of post-war trauma in Serbia
Serbian cinematographer and director Maja Medicdocumentary feature project I want you to know participates in the CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator development program and won the Cineuropa Marketing Award at When East Meets West in Trieste.
The film is described as a story of love and loss, vulnerability and denial of war, an intimate journey questioning the consequences of living a life with too many secrets, from the personal to the collective, against the backdrop of the traumas of the post-war Serbia. today.
Cineuropa: What is your film about?
Maja Medic: It combines two scenarios. The first is my personal experience – a love affair made next to impossible by the PTSD of the man I loved. In the 1990s, he was transferred from his regular military service and sent to war in Bosnia. The second scenario consists of the experiences of many veterans of the Balkan wars who share feelings about how it is to be in a war, how it changes a person and how Serbia still does not recognize their existence.
In Serbia, people live in a culture of silence, both in their families and in society as a whole. We have problems taking responsibility and dealing with our past, which keeps us in a constant state of trauma. That’s why I decided to use this very personal story to tell a bigger one, which concerns us all – and which applies to everywhere, not just to Serbia.
Not talking about a trauma locks us into it, makes us relive it over and over again and generates more and more discomfort, frustration and rage. When war trauma is not recognized and addressed, veterans are forever affected, many of them commit suicide, almost all are still struggling in life, but they are not the only ones to suffer the consequences. . The families they return to, the new families they create, the people they have relationships with are also affected – that is, all of us. And it’s not just about whether they want to talk about it, maybe it has even more to do with the fact that we don’t want to hear what they have to say. Well I want you to know what they have to say.
What is your approach as a director? How do you want the film to look, sound and feel?
I don’t make “talking head” documentaries, I don’t want to use any kind of archival warfare or news footage. I want this film to have an associative and poetic approach. I want the audience to first feel it and then reflect on what they saw and why it made them feel that way. I set myself the bar very high with this film because of the importance of the subject. I want to find the best possible way to tell this story, and since I’m early in development, I’m still looking for it.
How do you manage the very personal aspect of the film? It must be difficult to find the right position as a storyteller.
It was difficult at first, I needed time to distance myself from the fact that I was sharing something very personal. It’s a huge step out of my comfort zone, not just as a rookie director (even though I’ve been in the film industry for 20 years), but because I decided to share something deeply staff, which I haven’t even shared with some of my friends. But I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life as making this movie.
Do you have any favorite movie role models or documentary films?
I wouldn’t say I have role models, but rather a great appreciation for certain documentary films that had a huge impact on me when I watched them. Starting with the most recent, to name a few: X-ray of a family through Firouzeh Khosrovani, The reverse of everything through Mila Turajlic, Ingrid Bergman in her own words through Stig Bjorkman, In search of sugar man through Malik Bendjelloul, Stories we tell through Sarah Polly, The German secret through Lars Johansson and Blue through Derek Jarman.