This year, Jasmin Duraković will present his latest film THE FINAL BARRIER to the audience of BH Film Program. It is a story of two young girls, Nur and Zhore, refugees from Syria who are trying to reach the West.
Jasmin Duraković talked to us about engaged cinema, political situation in Europe and how was it to work on a film that demanded swift reactions.
This year we will watch THE FINAL BARRIER in the BH Film Program, film that deals with one of the biggest political issues in Europe at the moment – issue of large number of refugees coming to Europe. How important is it to deal with political issues in the films we create?
Film must deal with big issues that surround us. Refugee crises was happening in our neighbourhood and we decided to react to it. Developments in Europe after the big wave of refugees came to Europe in autumn of 2015 just confirmed the importance of this theme. Many European governments are pushing this issue under the rug and wanted our film to deal with that, because we had a feeling that is going to happen. Of course, we are also dealing with the crises of European political and spiritual identity. This is a film about refugees, but it is a story of a dawn of European society and values at the same time.
There are multiple connections between Bosnia and Herzegovina and current refugee crises: Michael is watching the ending of NAFAKA when characters go down the river on a raft and after that he sees the refugees of as the board a bout; one of the women who are helping refugees was born in Srebrenica, etc. How similar are the stories of Bosnians and Herzegovinians and stories of refugees who are running from war now?
Idea to connect NAFAKA with this film came from my producer and scriptwriter Robert Hofferer. And people running from their homes are all the same, it doesn’t matter if they are Bosnians or Syrians. Bosnian part of the crew could understand the situation completely and in a way, it made a process of making this film a bit easier.
Film was created as a quick reaction to the crisis that was happening on the boarders of Europe at that moment. It seems like you didn’t have a lot of time to prepare it and develop the story. How did the research look like?
Yes, you’re right. We wanted to shoot the film while refugees were still on the borders of Hungary, Croatia and Austria. Because of that from the moment when we started writing to the beginning of the shoot only 20 days passed. We were aware of the limitations that kind of rush was bringing with it, but we were sure that catching that exact historical moment was more important. And I think we caught it and that is the most important thing for this film.
Most of the characters in the film, except for Zhora and Nur, have at least one very negative trait, why? Is that fact showing your attitude toward the people who were supposed to welcome the refugees when they reached the Europe, even in the case of the small countries as ours?
Humans are not perfect and prejudices to everyone and everything different are very common. We didn’t want to idealise world around us or make a social story about the people who are in trouble and some other people who are helping them out. The fact is that these refugees didn’t get a lot of understanding from anybody and that they were sacrificed for the sake of global politics in the world dominated by hatred, xenophobia, religious conflicts and terrorism. This film is about it, about death of Europe we used to know and believe in.
You are one of the rare directors who tend to work with the scriptwriters. What are the benefits of it and how does the development process looks like in those cases?
Sometimes I write the scripts, sometimes someone else. For me it is important to be able to find myself in the script I’ll be directing. FINAL BARRIER, as an international project, was a completely different experience for me as somebody else wrote it and produced it, I was there just to direct. The experience had its negative and positive sides, but it was nevertheless very valuable.
What’s next in store for Jasmin Duraković?
I’m working on two projects. The first one is GOODBYE COCKROACHES, inspired by famous song by Zabranjenog pušenja that I’m doing in cooperation with Sejo Sekson and the other is my authorial project – drama/noir thriller ALL ABOUT LOVE, BOOKS AND DOGS. There is an option for a next international project, but we’ll talk about that some other time.