from 25th May 2021 – exclusively online
Subjectivity is a sticky matter. It seems obvious and intrinsically ours, yet it is a product of complex negotiation between kinship, state governance and personal experiences. Subjectivity ties itself to the notion of an identity and hence, represents who we are to ourselves, how we present and are perceived by others. The body itself is often seen as a space that delineates the individual and the outside world; a physical border between the private and the public sphere. Judith Butler defines the boundary “as a function of the relation, a brokering of difference, a negotiation in which I am bound to you in my separateness.” Borders therefore seem to suggest both differentiation and a relation at the same time. These bordering surfaces protect, break apart, distinct, contrapose, are loose or tight. Borders can be in a form of houses (In Between), plates (Quit Staring at My Plate), bridges (For Those Who Can Tell No Tales), counters (Erased) and landscapes (Homelands).
Common ground: Archipelago Yugoslavia, thus reflects and narrates the story of borders, shared histories, struggling presents and negotiated futures. An archipelago landscape points to a cluster of solitudes (a multitude), sense of power, history and time passed, but also firmness and immobility. Thirty years has passed since the war in once joint federation of Yugoslavia started. Its repercussions are not only those of new borders, but in transformative events ranging from new personal and social distances as well as new connective tissues: new futures built on shared histories. In this year’s Balkan Film Week, we will examine these fractions and archipelagos of differences and similarities in their continuous contesting of subjectivities and ideologies. Depicting violence that led to the disfigured landscape is not the aim of this year’s showcased movies. Family, nationhood, aspirations and Kafkaesque situations, are juxtaposed at the archipelago of nations. What the images and stories of these films seek is engagement and joint examination of transnational emotions and experiences such as precariousness, loss, freedom and belonging. Common ground is thus an act of understanding the difference, or more precisely, borders, not only as a space of separation, but as a space of brokering the distances, providing care and accepting the other as yourself.
 Ahmed, Sara “The Cultural Politics of Emotion”, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2004; pp. 11.
 Butler, Judith „Frames of War. When Is Life Grievable? “, Verso, London, New York; 2009; pp.44.
The Balkan Film Week is an essential part of the Common Ground – Literature from Southeast Europe project, which presents the Western Balkans as the Region in Focus at the Leipzig Book Fair 2020-2022. The overall theme this year is Archipelago Yugoslavia – From 1991 to Today. And so, also the films we show at the 3rd Balkan Film Week deal with the breakup of Yugoslavia and its long aftermath in the 30 years since.
This year’s Balkan Film Week takes place exclusively online. The links to the films will be available shortly before the screening (for programme details please view the programme grid to the right). This year’s programme is also held as part of Leipzig liest extra – a reading festival organised by the Leipzig Book Fair.
Our programme curator Marija Katalinić has come up with a wonderful programme! Click on the button below to read her introductory text to this year’s theme:
Samir Karahoda, 2019
13', short film, Kosovo
Jelena Maksimović, 2020
63', documentary, Serbia
Miha Mazzini, 2018
86', feature film, Slovenia
Jasmila Žbanić, 2012
72', feature film, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Qatar, Germany
Hana Jušić, 2016
105', feature film, Croatia, Denmark
Ilian Metev, 2012
75´, documentary, Croatia, Bulgaria, Germany