Whenever I introduce this film to an audience, I usually like to talk about how it starts. All the Cities of the North has its own distinct way of unfolding and I always hope that my being there is able to ease the passage into the film, from the darkness of the cinema into the flow of images and sounds. In this case, I’m not here, our bodies are not occupying the same darkness, I can't count on my presence to provide a gateway. Perhaps an image is the best substitute then, it seems fitting for a film of so few words.
The image I'd like to offer in my place was taken late in the summer when I first came across the space you'll see in the film, the abandoned bungalow complex on the border between Montenegro and Albania. The photo was taken just a few kilometres south of the complex, further down the Adriatic coast, it was August, 2011. When looking at the photo now, I can't help feeling that you can already see the whole film in it. The tent, the color blue, the light, the idea of being together, everything is there. It was almost a year after it was taken that I first started thinking about making this film. This is how it started, let's move onto how it starts.
It starts in a white room, with a blue tent pitched inside. It’s a film that resembles a walk, moving through different spaces step by step. There’s the blue tent, one white room followed by another, and then you step outside, onto the parched grass, beneath the cypresses, by the side of a lake, among the white, cube-like bungalows. The walk doesn’t stop there, it keeps going, further and further, across salt flats, construction sites and football fields in the midst of olive groves, crossing stories, memories, and dreams almost forgotten.
It starts with two men, Boris and Boban, in a relationship for which there are no words. This relationship is never articulated, it can be bent in new directions, inverted, stretched, shaken, reshaped. New figures appear and others join them, they carry their own fictions, gestures, and tools. This relationship is itself like an unknown terrain, able to be traversed, like space. Like space, it shifts.
It starts at one place and ends somewhere else. Cinema as something to carry you, cinema as something that transforms.
I wish you a pleasant stroll.