Director: Ahmed Imamović
Starring: Sadžida Šetić, Nermin Tulić, Minka Muftić, Armin Rizavnović, Adis Omerović
Duration: 90 min.
This is an intimate story of the survivors of the Srebrenica genocide facing a world of contrasts. On one hand there is the relentless search for the truth while on the other there are the trivialities of modern living. In a transitional society obsessed with reality shows used as a device to fabricate individuals characterized by superficiality. When these two worlds collide in a dysfunctional society a bomb starts its countdown.
Belvedere is a film directed by Bosnian filmmaker Ahmed Imamovic. This is his second film, and has been selected as Bosnia and Herzegovina's official entry to the 2012 Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film.
It's a film dealing primarily with the women survivors of the Srebenica genocide and takes place in the Belvedere refugee camp. Ruveyda (Sadžida Šetić) is one of these war widows, who like most of her fellow residents of the camp, struggles to balance moving on with her life, caring for what's left of her extended family, and searching for the bones of her lost husband and children. This existence has become something of a routine for her that gives her the hope to go on. Things take a turn however, when her nephew Adnan (Adis Omerović) is selected to participate in the Serbian version of Big Brother. Adnan grew up after the war so he doesn't have the same disdain towards Serbia as the rest of his family, and his decision to take part causes a rift that threatens to open up old wounds.
This highly emotional film is presented in a modern style with some cool little touches. The musical score is a slow bubbling atmospheric number that punctuates the uncomfortable tone of the story. While the mostly black and white images have a high contrast digital look to them. Some of the scenes use the stylistic trick of rendering the TV picture to a supersaturated color whenever the reality show is displayed on the character's home screen. It's an effective technique that highlights the artificiality and inanity of the characters and events in the reality show, in contrast to the harsh realities of the survivors' lives.
Belvedere is a very compelling film aided by its slightly detached and stylized narrative, which makes the heavy subject matter somewhat of an easier pill to swallow. However it is perhaps a bit too simplified in its characterizations and it also expects the audience to already be familiar with the events of the Bosnian War. As such, I'm not so sure if it will have a great enough effect on the Academy voters. Still I do recommend watching this if you get the chance.
— Bonjour Tristesse