[…] One cannot help but think of Ivo Andrić’s wonderful novel, «The Bridge on the Drina», which displays the complex affair of Bosnian ethnic bounds and conflicts for over a century, and which lets the trans-temporal forces of history determine the fates of individuals.
Three stories, three moments, telling the last twenty years of Bosnian history. It is an indirect point of access to the absurd, most recent European war, shortly before the first battles, shortly after the peace agreement, and today. Zvizdan is theindirect tale of the collective hate that has separated neighbours, friends, even lovers. The point of view is always that of two lovers, separated by their ethnic belonging, separated after the war by wounds that cannot be healed, and today… by their ethnic belonging once more! Through the three stories, the film shows the struggle between this love and its social implications and complications. Only the very last sequence opens a little room for hope; aside from that, the burden of history seems to always trample the innocent blossom of these love stories. In addition to love, nature functions in the film as a true peace-maker and as an alternative to human perversions. One cannot help but think of Ivo Andrić’s wonderful novel, The Bridge on the Drina, which displays the complex affair of Bosnian ethnic bounds and conflicts for over a century, and which lets the trans-temporal forces of history determine the fates of individuals. The young director, Dalibor Matanić, makes a wise choice in order to stress this trans-temporal force in a complex way: he has cast the same actors to play different characters in the three stories – as if the individuality of each lover would be reduced to a self-repeating role that is led by social destiny. Nevertheless, thanks to the virtuosic performance of the main actors – as well as the nice editing –, multiple nuances of the relationships and of their developments emerge, constituting one of the most enjoyable aspects of this fine-grained film. Zvizdan is a perfect example of how to connect the personal and historical levels in a single tale. In this connection, the personal love has the task of contrasting and prevailing over the interethnic hatred: a pleasant hope – one could say; a bit too romantic – one could also add. But to this respect, and more generally, I ask whether it doesn’t take a less irrational motivation than love to heal the irrational hatred that moved thousands of people to massacre themselves… A difficult question, for sure, which but an important one to raise, once we have rightly praised Matanić’s mature film.
Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore
First published: May 17, 2016
Zvizdan | Film | Dalibor Matanić | HRV-SRB 2015 | 123’