"In Bosnia, when you buy land and start to dig the foundation for a house, you can never be sure you won't find a mass grave." That's what Bosnian filmmaker Ahmed Imamovic told Balkan Insight in an interview about his 2010 drama Belvedere.
The film is named for a real refugee camp in which Imamovic's fictional characters, survivors of the Srebrenica massacre, wait patiently for the authorities to identify their relatives' remains. They've been waiting since Bosnian Serbs murdered 8,000 Muslim men and boys in that town in 1995.
Imamovic consulted with real survivors of the massacre, some of whom appear in the stark, mostly black-and-white drama. "I'll be very happy if the audience, in the 90 minutes of the film, feels the discomfort, the nausea that these women have been feeling for the past 15 years," he told Reuters.
The Vermont International Film Foundation relaunches its Global Roots film series this Sunday with a screening of Belvedere accompanied by a discussion with Bianka LeGrand, a Burlington city councilor and Vermont's first Bosnian-born elected official. It's free.
How would you react if your 14-year-old daughter announced that she wanted to circumnavigate the globe? Probably not the way Laura Dekker's folks did. They fought the Dutch courts to give their daughter, an experienced sailor, the opportunity to be the youngest person to sail around the world solo.
Director Jillian Schlesinger chronicles that voyage in her 2013 documentary Maidentrip, which incorporates footage shot during the two-year adventure by Dekker herself. You can catch her inspiring story at a Burlington Film Society screening on May 22.
The film will be introduced by Burlington teacher and therapist Genevieve Jacobs, herself a veteran of the high seas who set sail on a solo international voyage at 17. "I have enjoyed an ocean-mediated contemplative practice of over a decade's duration," she writes in her Psychology Today bio. Critics say that Dekker's wave-borne isolation in Maidentrip evokes a similarly Zen condition.
Did a little-known British author inspire "Downton Abbey"? Aimee Oliver of the blog For Books' Sake argues that Isabel Colegate's novel The Shooting Party, which chronicles one day in the life of an aristocratic family just before World War I, was a clear influence on "Downton" creator Julian Fellowes.
The 1985 film adaptation of The Shooting Party, starring James Mason and John Gielgud, garnered awards but is largely forgotten today. You can catch a free screening of the period flick in vintage '80s style — that is, on celluloid — this Saturday in Plattsburgh. Local 16mm film collector and enthusiast Andy MacDougall promises a screening "on classic 16mm film, not DVD. Attendees in full period costume encouraged!"