MUBI is showing Igor Drljaca's debut feature Krivina in most countries around the world from September 13 - October 12, 2016.
An anxiety follows immigrants arriving from war zones, partially caused by the violent separation from their home country. This was something I experienced, as did many other émigrés from former Yugoslavia who fled the wars in the 1990s. In order to cope with this anxiety, some of us create and nurture fictions as we attempt to protect ourselves from either one’s active role in the war, one’s apathy towards it, or simply one’s helplessness. In one version of this fiction, the aggressor seeks to play the victim, searching for a more virtuous past, while hiding in plain sight.
The anxiety is the result of (sometimes latent) trauma. It can be passed on, mutate, and impact families and communities many years after the war. Krivina is an attempt to explore this feeling and its impact. It came about through my attempt to combine fiction and personal narratives of those who emigrated from Bosnia, as well as those who stayed behind.
The main two characters, Miro and Drago, emerged through conversations with lead actors Goran Slavković and Jasmin Geljo, with some of their own personal wartime and immigrant experiences informing the writing process. The other characters are largely variations of the non-actors who play them. A major influence on the film’s structure was Agnès Varda’s Vagabond. The subtext of Varda’s film—expressed through Mona’s journey—explores the aftermath of France’s post-colonial legacy and the social order that prevailed there in the early 1980’s. Krivina, through Miro’s journey, examines the trauma of the Yugoslav wars in the early 1990’s using a waking dream-like structure that oscillates between Miro’s present day home in Toronto and his homeland in Bosnia.
The locations in the film are all unaltered places, both in Bosnia and in Toronto. This includes my grandmother’s village of Žljebovi, where I spent time before the war, and where a tragic bus crash occurred shortly before we began filming. Rather than being concerned only with the wartime history of the locations, I was interested in the ways in which the legacy of trauma marks the landscape and affects people. The experience of traveling through these landscapes helped me define who these characters are: Miro, with his amnesia; Dado and his competing war narratives; Drago’s immigration woes; and the collective traumas of the Bosnians who witnessed the bus crash in Žljebovi.