Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Better late than never

I know it’s, kind of, cheating, but it’s a pity to waist perfectly decent already written posts. Due to some technical difficulties and no time to fix them sooner, here are the last few weeks’ posts, as they were written:

Monday, March 12, 2007


And here’s another date that I will never forget. I think I’ve witnessed too much history.
I was working as a part time translator for a government agency and it was a relatively slow day. I don’t really remember what happened when from all the excitement but we finished some meeting in the morning and I headed home. I visited my mom at work. I realized something strange was happening as I walked through the empty corridors. Everyone was glued to the radios in their offices. News was beginning to break but nothing was certain. In complete disbelief we kept saying: He’ll be ok.
I ran back to work, hoping to learn more. I looked at oblivious people in the street trying to recognize my own stunned expression on other faces. At work, the picture was grim. As I passed the crying secretaries and the men in suits shaking their heads, I started to realize that what we were fearing could actually be true. Not long after it was confirmed. Djindjic was dead.
I cannot remember at which point came a memo from the Ministry, which I was to translate for the foreign consultants. It was full of words like persevere and continuity. I cried as I was typing. But for a time I started to believe it could be done. That summer I was interviewed by a foreign journalist and I said that I believed that this horrible murder opened the eyes of even more people and that as tragic as it was it could not sidetrack the country on its way to becoming a normal place to live.
I was very wrong.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mumbo Jumbo Serbiano

Phew! I was really horrified by the prospects that this title would be Serbia’s first representative in the Eurovision song contest (and the cause of another well-deserved round of bombing). Eurovision is no stranger to idiotic acts, but this one takes the gold.
In the end, I’m quite pleased. My favorite won. If half the gossip about this girl is true, I’m even happier. I think peoples’ objections to her looks are out of place. We can always count on the World Idol factor.
The event itself was yet another low point for Serbian national TV, with disgraceful performances by the two ridiculous hosts, and not much better contestants. The highlight for me were the strange commercial breaks with low production spots straight out of local television in eastern Serbia.
Still I love the whole thing, Lots of friends came, we drank lots of wine and laughed and booed and cheered like crazy. Can’t wait for Helsinki…

Monday, March 05, 2007

Film History

March looks set to be a month of cinema. So many films are coming that I’d really like to see. So much I’ve missed on FEST. Year after year my choice of films to see at the festival becomes increasingly limited and mainstream. In part because it’s hard to find time and in part because I really cannot be bothered any more to do research so I simply go and see films I’ve already heard of. This year was no exception – a parade of academy award nominees and winners. Some were late arrivals to the Serbian silver screen, but well worth the wait.

Babel was beautiful and moving and I loved Little Miss Sunshine, but it’s films about history that for me really made a mark this year.
I love how in the Last King of Scotland a fictional character was woven through real historical events and brought a personal perspective on details of history I knew very little about. On the other hand, Apocalypto was a huge disappointment. It did get me to spend hours on the Internet reading about the Maya civilization, but I am baffled why anyone would spend a huge budget on something completely historically inaccurate. Admittedly I failed to see the Christian undertone, because my mind simply doesn’t work that way. I actually saw the coming of the Spanish in the end as the last straw, the final disaster to plague these people, not, as most critics see it, as a symbol of godly people coming to save some barbarian souls. If this indeed is true, it makes the film even worse.
Another film from FEST which I absolutely loved was Marie Antoinette. Although I haven’t actually seen it on the festival, it really made my day, one rainy afternoon in Brooklyn last November. It’s atmospheric and pretty and makes you think on how history really depends on your perspective. Until it hits you in the face.