When the director was still a boy, he stood in front of “Flotel Europa“, excited about this gigantic ship moored in Copenhagen becoming a new home for him, his mother and his older brother. Together with about 1000 other refugees from the former Yugoslavia, they started life anew on the ship.
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A beautiful use of archival footage for a private memory. The collective that is seen is the reflector of an intimate space, given in off, where a first love is contextualized in a particular historical moment, as (in) a melodrama.
No film could be more relevant in this dangerous historical moment. The reality is that Flotel Europa is depressingly underseen outside of the Berlinale and Balkan crowds. It should be screened all over Europe - and not just as the artistic triumph that it is.
It is a very exciting film taking one of the basic ideas of cinema, editing putting it together with story telling and using something which never stops surprising us which is how reality can surpass fiction with this floating hotel, adrift like Europe has ever been whenever the topic is delicate. It is a very good exercise of cinema and definitely very necessary in today's european life.
Cinema as time travel meets cinema as empathy machine. The remembrances of a young Bosnian refugee’s life may seem a very limited way of exploring the political and social complexities of the Bosnian War, but they’re a gateway into an intimately specific human experience. Many films deal with the process by which a youth loses their innocence, but very few do it with such tenderness, frankness and historical pathos.