Item 1 of 4

Available for rent

62'

Bosnia–Herzegovina, 2019

Production : Hava Sarajevo

Bosnian

French, English


Balkanized Memories



Synopsis


"Ćafir" is a feature documentary about a young man who spent a part of his youth in the closed radical religious communes of the Wahhabi movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His father, the son of a Bosnian Catholic woman and a communist father, had a hard time rebuilding his life after the war. Dino’s father meets members of a radical islamist group who presented to him their version of religion as a salvation from his sufferings. He becomes very radical and decides he has to leave their hometown of Bihać, which is too secular for him, and takes his family to Maoča. After unknowingly participating in a terrorist attack and spending several months in prison, Dino renounces his religion and returns to his hometown alone, cutting ties with his radical father and family in order to build a new life from scratch.

A word from Tënk


Like other Arabic words, ćafir (infidel) is an archaic word that has recently made a reappearance in the Bosnian lexicon, like šehid (martyr). For much of its history, Bosnia has embodied debates about political Islam, secularism, and identity. After a period of secularism in socialist Yugoslavia, the wars of the 1990s led to a resurgence in Muslim religious identity, as well as an influx of foreign influences seeking to make Bosnia’s traditionally ‘moderate’ form of Islam more conservative. What is ‘tradition’ in Bosnia? What is Bosnia’s place in the ummah?


This debate is personified in Dino, the hero and only interlocutor of the film, who, with his irresistible, genuine charisma, animates his own story. Latić-Hulusić’s unobtrusive documentarian style follows Dino like a faithful friend and the viewer is invited into his life’s intimate landscapes: diligently cleaning his modest home, cutting the grass with a rusty scythe, building a doghouse, weeding his grandmother’s grave, or making kljukuša. The lonely portrait and invisible filmmaker serve to make the heartbreak of his double alienation–from his family, for not being a believer, and from Bosnian society, for being associated with extremists–all the more poignant. The social and economic devastation resulting from the Bosnian War is scarcely mentioned directly, but it constitutes the scaffolding of much of Dino’s story. The emotional, psychological, and economic impetus that may lead people into the false promise of extremism is treated with a refreshing tenderness, but the most profound discovery of the film is Dino himself. Neither particularly educated nor cosmopolitan, having spent much of his life in a radical and insulated community, unwittingly involved with a terrorist and even briefly jailed, Dino demonstrates a quality that is increasingly rare: moral courage. Coupled with his humility and honesty, Dino’s story offers a rare flicker of hope in the ability of individuals to develop their own moral compass even at odds with their family, community, or country.

 

 

Tea Hadžiristić
Writer and Yugoslav Black Wave Film Club founder

 

 

Item 1 of 4
Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4