Borderline Lovers

After work on Tuesday, I headed home and took Abbers out. I put up my hooves for about an hour and then went to Keystone Art to see the documentary Borderline Lovers. I got in free, since I had volunteered for IIFF and they gave DVDs to those of us at the beginning of the line! The DVD is an indie film called Manito, which looks interesting.

The documentary was very moving. It followed three couples from different areas of the Balkans, showing the ups and downs of managing mixed relationships in a strained post-war environment. It offered a view of hope and love through the cautious gaze of those scarred by war.

One couple, Ozrenka, a Croatian and Marko, a Montenegrin, are afraid they'll be hurt venturing into the other's territory. Ozrenka doesn't feel safe driving her car with Croatian plates into Montengro and Marko doesn't feel safe driving his car with Montenegro plates into Croatia. They work out a system of meeting at the border. Ozrenka catches a ride to the border, Marko picks her up and they head into Montengro. Sometimes Marko catches a ride to the border, Ozrenka picks him up and then drive into Croatia. They've been meeting like this for more than three years. Passports, security checks and border patrols are a standard part of their lives.

Another couple, Anesa (Muslim) and Dragan (Serbian) are from different parts of Mostar. Their parents won't acknowledge their relationship. Anesa brings Dragan to her parent's home for dinner. Acutely aware of the tension, she jokes that Dragan should eat and not worry that his future mother-in-law is trying to poison him.

The third couple, Adila and Velibor, are married and trying to foster a happy relationship despite the fact that only a few years ago, their families were shooting at one another.

During the war, an old bridge in Mostar was destroyed. The film showed part of the bridge's reconstruction. Anesa noted that after the war, Serbians, Muslims and Croatians are still living together. What's changed is that the city has fallen behind. Everyone suffers and has to rebuild. It clearly demonstrates the futility of war.

Can you imagine what it would be like for your country to be emerging from war on its home soil? What if you fell in love with someone from "the other side?" How would you handle it?

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