The Fog of Srebrenica review by Calum Maclean
The Fog of Srebrenica
Filmed, Directed and Produced by Samir Mehanović
Edited by Laura Carreira
Music Composed by Nigel Osborne
The Fog of Srebrenica is a powerful new documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Samir Mehanović, telling the story of one of the most horrific acts of genocide in the later twentieth century. Using testimony from witnesses and survivors, the film highlights an atrocity that has been too often overlooked in the twenty one years since it took place, allowing their words and sometimes silent anguish to convey individual experiences of suffering and loss with devastating subtlety.
Divided into chapters, in a style reminiscent of Lars Von Trier, the film charts the escalation of the Bosnian conflict from 1993 to the massacres of 1995, and the frustrating lack of justice in the aftermath. The narrative moves methodically towards tragedy, broken up by onscreen text contextualising events, and a sparing use of archive footage that is both brutally difficult to witness, and essential to the experience.
The testimonies range from traumatised to defiant, with a still grieving mother providing some of the most affecting moments, and an embittered young woman making the most pointed condemnations of the perpetrators and the United Nations for their failure to stop the bloodshed. These statements linger long after the film has ended.
Aside from the emotional power of the witness accounts, the cinematography and score create a mood of melancholy and dread. Deriving its title in part from the oppressive fog around Srebrenica, the film depicts the location as a poetic hybrid of ghost town and rebirth. The people are still there, their lives are continuing, but all around there is still the cloud of the past, the unanswered questions and the undiscovered dead.
At only sixty minutes in length, The Fog of Srebrenica gives the audience an entry into a subject matter many are still unfamiliar with, in an accessible style that foregoes the usual documentary tropes of a western voiceover and an over reliance on outsider talking heads. Instead, by focusing on the unheard voices of the people of Bosnia, the film is a compelling insight into the real cost of bigotry and crimes against humanity that will both educate and move any audience.
Calum Maclean – September, 2016.
The Fog of Srebrenica will be screened at:
Edinburgh Filmhouse Friday 30th September 6pm
The Glad Café Glasgow Saturday 1st October 3pm
Scottish Parliament Thursday 6th October 6pm
Q and A with Samir Mehanović following the screenings.
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