For detailed information on the Balkan Film Week in the German language, please visit our page in German or the Common Ground or UT Connewitz Facebook pages.
Common Ground: Origin and Belonging
The feeling and the knowledge of belonging is one of the most perplexing experiences in life. Although belonging seems like a question of personal matter, the verb a priori demands an addition to its own meaning; one needs to belongs to. To know that one belongs, such as to a group with which one shares values, characteristics and time and space experiences offers a sense of acceptance of being recognized as a subject of a certain origin. In this formulation, origin would relate to the “source”, the site of one’s belonging, which usually refers to instances such as family, nationality, state, society or culture. To belong to either of these groups may give one a deeper sense of feeling at ease or acceptance, but can also be a site of constant identity struggles or productive negotiations. Therefore, the notion of belonging was historically thought through the aspects of traditionalism, firmness and rigidity. This week’s programme calls for a constant juxtaposition and convergence of those different dynamics within a framework of personal and shared cultures and histories. Having “roots” is often used as a linguistic metaphor: by representing soil and connection to the ground, it makes us think of linear history and stability. But the metaphor of a firm base, however, easily clashes with the notion of identity as a fluid matter in constant negotiation with what sometimes our affective self sees as “outside” influence. In that sense, belonging ultimately is something that is negotiated throughout one’s life on various levels in different time frames, different places and with different people.
For the second edition of Balkan Film Week, this year’s theme “Common ground: Origin and belonging” will screen films that speak about the complexities of the narratives which constitute an identity in a layered geographical space of the Balkan region. In three days, the audience will be able to see and think about different levels of belonging that not only converge in the mentioned region, but can be put in relation to most spaces and places around the world. The level of belonging stem from that of belonging to a family; belonging to the country of birth or wanting to belong to a country as a migrant, refugee or an asylum seeker; belonging to a certain religion and restating your religion; belonging to a sexuality and of a gender; belonging to a certain culture. This year’s eight films will inspect and discuss the levels of struggle and compromise that is inherent in the concept of belonging which by the very nature of inclusion of certain traits excludes other. This dialectic of simultaneous inclusion and exclusion is unavoidable topic in today’s globalized world of ever firmer inner boundaries.
Marija Katalinić, Balkan Film Week Curator