Friday, 29 July 2011

Sarajevo Day 7

Yesterday was my first day without my fellow Jury members and without any 'homework' cinema to watch, so I scheduled myself for two films I'd been looking forward to seeing for a while, THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD, which Rob Beames saw in Berlin and really liked, and the Dardenne Brothers' THE KID WITH A BIKE, which premiered at Cannes.

THE KID WITH A BIKE was typical of the Dardennes' in that it focused on an underprivileged kid, this time a young boy who's been abandoned by his dad in an orphanage and fostered by a kind hairdresser. A simple, straightforward plot that is executed flawlessly and dramatically. Incredible moving and with unbelievable performances, particularly from the lead.

THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD is directed by Joshua Marston, an American filmmaker, but set in rural Albania, against a backdrop of blood feuds based on centuries-old traditions. The two young leads are non professional actors who give fresh, realistic performances and the story is unusual enough and interesting that you are constantly engaged. Solid all around.

I also went on a 'Mahala' tour of the city, which focused on tightly-knit neighborhood in Sarajevo, usually around a mosque, synagogue, orthodox or catholic church. This really highlighted the incredible multicultural nature of this city, which has embraced people from all faiths and ethnicity for centuries, ages before the modern metropolitan melting pots of today.

Tonight we hand over our awards and tomorrow I'll be able to discuss freely the competition programme.

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