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Association of Filmmakers in B&H



REMEMBERING A BIT DIFFERENT CHILDHOOD

Association of Filmmakers in B&H22.08.2015

Five hundred years ago Heraclitus was teaching that it is impossible to enter the same river twice as new water is constantly flowing towards you. Panta rei. Everything flows, everything changes. Vladimir Tomić in FLOTEL EUROPA takes this theses by Heraclitus to a new level. Flotel Europa, as can be deduced from it's name, floats on the water. At the same time it is completely static. It doesn't go anywhere, and for the long time neither did refugees who were living in it. Today, it still exists, unchanged, untouched by transience Heraclitus insisted upon, forever frozen on film. 

FLOTEL EUROPA is made of documentary footage, home videos, made in a house which should have been big enough for everybody, which for a moment looked like a sanctuary from war, death and uncertainty. Home videos that residents of Flotel Europa diligently shot and packed as “video letters” to their families as part of humanitarian aid became little pieces of reality from “a better world”. Tomić decided to supplement these videos with off screen narration written and read as parts from child's diary. Most of the time he speaks from the position of the 10 year old he was at that time. This film doesn't need big words or big emotional scenes. There is not a shot in the whole movie from today. Time never continued moving. Flotel Europa is still floating in the people who once lived in it. 

Tomić tells his story slowly, almost timidly, as it could disappear any moment. Through the story of him growing up, falling in love and first friendships we enter the world people choose to forget these days. Problem of refugees and their experiences is often “pushed aside”, because it is mostly very difficult to define it. Refugees live in a vacuum, trapped between the war, which couldn't touch them directly any more, and the real world they were not able to enter. Life in vacuum often lasts for years and left enormous races on the generation growing up at that moment. Denial, nationalism, daydreaming, drugs, death – all the big secrets of people surviving transplantation of the roots from one country to the other intersect in FLOTEL EUROPA.

Everything flows. But what happens with the memories? Can we really share them? Can people really understand them or all of them, in the end, exist only on the ghost-ships not going anywhere?  

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