02 August 2010

“IT’S LIKE SAFARI HERE.”

Donika Pemova
Movie Review
Two Summers in Kosovo, Canada, 114’
Branding Kosovo special programme
Tuesday, 03.08, 18:00 – Kino Lumbardhi


Two Summers in Kosovo might be perceived as a typical movie that a foreign perspective can produce about the conflict between Albanians in Kosovo and Serbs in Kosovo. Even the title suggest a stereotype. There are also a few weirdly flat moments in the narration where you wonder why did they have to say that Kosovo is half the size of Israel, for instance? But at a closer look, the movie is much more than a superficial portrayal of conflict. Its main method is reasoning and words instead of emotions and visual assets. This kind of approach should be worth some attention because it is rare even in documentary filmmaking – and especially when it comes to portraying conflict.

In fact this film is a rather good attempt to portray the current situation in Kosovo. It tries to stray away from the reasons behind it (as far as that is at all possible) and to focus on what will happen next. Where is the future of Kosovo? The answers are numerous and come in the form of many interviews with all sorts of different people that live in Kosovo today. This kind of story-telling approach is interesting, though rather unoriginal and non-viewer-friendly. It is probably difficult for anybody personally involved in such a conflict to look at it in such a cumulative way, and that is why this movie might give a wider perspective to those that see it and are personally involved in what the characters talk about. Even if it doesn’t show you anything you have not heard before, the juxtaposition of all the interviews that Canadians Christopher Bobyn and Andrew Lampard shot for two summers in Kosovo seems to be fair and worth paying some attention to.

In Two Summers in Kosovo we hear the stories of two fathers that have lost their sons. We look in the eyes of two young people on either side and through that we see hope for the future. We see their hope. One of them longs for education and a better, more reasonable and peaceful life. The other one believes war is stupid and that soldiers who think they can change the world are fools. They both are open to “the other,” yet they have their own firm beliefs about their own people. We also hear the reasoning of civil activists Momcilo Arlov and Albin Kurti, as well as that of journalist Jeta Xharra. They all make sense. Then we hear a whole lot of other additional stories. In the end it seems we have heard too much. The movie is long and the story line is not clear. But the characters are all valid and each interview gives a different dimension to the next one. At the end of the day it even becomes understandable why the authors of Two Summers in Kosovo did not make their movie 50 minutes long instead of 114. Well, they now risk that some of the viewers will not see the last hour of their film, but still, those who have enough patience are advised to stay till the end because till the very end there are details that might prove interesting.

Two Summers in Kosovo is not the best movie you will see. It has good photography and each character takes shape and substance as the movie progresses. But in the end we are left puzzled by everything we have heard and seen and we really have no idea where the truth lies. But in the end, isn’t this confusion a pretty truthful portrayal of what Kosovo is today and what it has set off to be in the near future?

Rating: 6.5/10
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