101 Balkan Rhapsodies

Balkan Rhapsodies (101)

19:30, Thursday 02nd July, Theatre A

  • Director: Jeff Silva (USA)
  • Year: 2007
  • Run time: 55'
  • Format: DVCAM, NTSC

Balkan Rhapsodies is an episodic documentary poem that interweaves a mosaic of encounters, observations, and reflections from Silva's travels throughout war-torn Serbia and Kosovo between 1999-2005. An American filmmaker and ethnographer, Jeff Daniel Silva, was the first US civilian allowed entry into a devastated Serbia in 1999 just days after the NATO bombings. By immersing himself intimately into the lives of people he meets, the film grapples with the inexplicable contradictions he encounters while digging deeper in search for comprehension.

Using the 78 days of NATO bombings (March 24 - June 10, 1999) as a structural reference point, this documentary infuses the fragmentation, cultural incongruities and ultimate dissolution of the Former Yugoslavia into the fabric of its editing through a poetic assemblage of 78 episodic movements (measures). Inspired by the rhapsodic musical form as well as a penchant for Serbia's potent national drink (šljivovica), the film weaves Silva's footage gleaned over eight years incorporating it with cultural imagery, archival material, and informal conversations with American luminaries Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. Balkan Rhapsodies deftly balances a serious and humorous landscape that captures the essence of life in the Balkan's of a generation ensnared in war during the Milosevic years.


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About this Festival

Sponsored by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival was held from Wednesday July 1st to Saturday July 4th 2009, and included over 50 hours of screenings of new films, a major international conference, and a targeted selection of events focusing on anthropological ethics in filmmaking, youth participatory film, and archiving ethnographic film.

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