Šišanje / Skinning : Director Had ‘Moral Responsibility’ To Make Movie

11 February, 2011 Culture, News No comments

Stevan Filipovic Marcus AgarFor his second outing as a director, Stevan Filipović has produced an astonishing film addressing Serbia’s issues of ultra-nationalism, alleged church corruption, and society’s lack of accountability – a state he claims he had ‘a moral responsibility to explore and explain‘.

On release in Serbia, the public voted with their feet.  In less than a month,Šišanje (English title:Skinningattracted an audience of 44,000, making it one of the country’s most popular recent films. 

Filipović says it is a film that would have been impossible to make even a decade ago, and unimaginable under the Milosovic regime. Even now, it has struck a raw nerve in Serbia where the crew received threats of violence from ultra nationalist groups, the premiere was heavily policed, and right-wingers called it criminal and anti-patriotic.

What cannot be faulted is that this provocative and uncompromising film has achieved something rare:  it has held up a mirror and generated healthy and sometimes heated debate.  After a private screening at the British Parliament, as part of Serbian Week in Great Britain and attended by the Serbian Ambassador, the film and its context again raised a spirited debate among the Serbian diaspora

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Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh: A Book Review

Recommending a favourite book does not always result in shared enjoyment.  One mans meat can be another mans poison. Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh has not given me such concerns.  Sharing such a great read has only received gratitude. I am not alone.  The phenomenon has been fueled by word of mouth and celebrity endorsement via Twitter, helping Gypsy Boy scale the Sunday Times bestseller list.

This biography of the early life of Romany Gypsy Mikey Walsh  not his real name – lifts the veil on a childhood growing up in a world often hidden in rumour and myth.  The moving story unfolds as Mikey introduces a host of colourful characters and descriptions of daily ducking and diving on a Gypsy camp. 

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Impressive Acting Marks Besa as Stand-Out Opener to Serbian Week in Great Britain

This week delivered an enjoyable event as part of the third annual Serbian Week in Great Britain.  I was invited to London’s Serbian Embassy for a private screening of Besa (Eng: Solemn Promise), the country’s 2011 foreign language Oscar submission.  Afterwards, it also provided an informal opportunity to discuss impressions of the film with the Serbian Ambassador to the UK.

Besa is a captivating story based on actual events set during the early days of the First World War.  Artfully paced storytelling and tender performances unveil the bonds that develop between an unlikely pair, ignited by fears and prejudice in a small Serbian town.  

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Belgrade: A Vibrant City With a Warm Welcome

People make a city.  Their energy can trigger a vibrant cultural scene or encourage a burgeoning tourist industry.  Those same people can make or break your experiences when visiting for the first time.  Every interaction, from ticket inspectors to people on the street leaves a lasting impression that could be recalled to others when returning home. The people of Belgrade could be this city’s greatest asset, having left their indelible mark on my first visit to Serbia. 

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