10.9.17

A Film a Week - 3 Women (or Waking Up from My Bosnian Dream)

It might sound exotic, a Bosnian film written and directed by a Mexican filmmaker and produced by “big guns” like Bela Tarr and Michel Franco, but the final product is not that cool, insightful or polished as it seems. It is a Film.factory’s second feature film, after a bunch of shorts (some of them done by 3 Women director Sergio Flores Thorija), and Film.factory as a project between Tarr and Sarajevo Film Academy is coming to an end after several years of training filmmaking students and producing festival “filler” films. 3 Women (or Waking Up from My Bosnian Dream) walks along the same lines, unfortunately.

The film was actually developed from Thorija’s own short Bosnian Dream that is incorporated here as one of the mildly and superficially hyper-linked stories about women of Sarajevo or women in Sarajevo. That story follows Ivana (played by young Ivana Vojinović), her exhausting daily routine of working hard and taking care of her ill mother and her dream of leaving Bosnia, emigrating for a better life.

The second story is situated around Clara (a newcomer Clara Casagrande), a Spanish ex-pat trying to make it as an exotic dancer only to be faced with the prejudice of local community about her way of life. The third one is also about prejudice and shame. Marina has to say goodbye to her best friend Selma (both played by first-timers Marina Komšić and Selma Memović respectively), who is leaving for Sweden and has to deal with her romantic feelings towards her in a homophobic surrounding and gender stereotypes personified by her own family.

The only story that works well and feels genuine in the setting of Sarajveo, Bosnia and Balkans is the first one. The idea of emigrating as a necessity for a normal life is the real issue, especially placed in contrast with very little specific skills that could make that dream come true. The other two stories told that way are more part of the problem and reinforcing the stereotypes of Balkans as the land of sexually repressed, homophobic people with ultra-conservative values then they are the part of solution. The main issue is that they don’t feel grounded in reality of Sarajevo, since the same things can happen pretty much anywhere in the world.


Style-wise, 3 Women looks a bit bland, shot in natural colours on the verge of drab, underlined by hand-held camera, kinda unfiltered sound and amateurish acting, especially problematic in the terms of line delivery. So, Altman’s “bergmanesque” dreamy extravaganza of the same title is just a distant echo here. All of that was probably a product of both low budget and Thorija’s artistic decisions, but in the end, it keeps the film just a notch above student work. It premiered in the competition of New Horizons before hitting the home turf in Sarajevo and will probably continue to fill in the program of various low-to-mid-level film festivals.