TAKE ME SOMEWHERE NICE

Written by Fedor Tot for Encounters Film Festival.

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Take Me Somewhere Nice follows Alma (Sara Luna Zorić), about to return to the country of her birth for the first time in many years to visit her ailing, absent father. Living in the Netherlands, Alma speaks to her mother in Dutch, but her mother responds in Bosnian. She appears as a curious, lost visitor to a land she’s unsure whether to call her own. She meets her aloof cousin Emir (Enad Prnjavorac) and starts a romance with his best friend Denis (Lazar Dragojević). The trio go on a road trip across the new modern Bosnia to the provincial village where Alma’s father is dying.

The structure provides writer-director Ena Sendijarević with the opportunity to look at modern Bosnia from the eyes of a diasporic dual-national, with one foot in the West and one foot in the East. Alma is unhappy in the Netherlands but naïve about life in Bosnia. It feels like my story, too, and that of many of us in the post-war diaspora: born in the former Yugoslavia, growing up unhappy in the West, unconfident when we return to our parental villages. A film like this was always going to hit me personally. One pointed scene has Alma accuse Emir of being a nationalist Bosniak – he rejects the accusation. It’s a common diaspora problem: we come back and tell the locals what they are, having learnt the ways of the cultured, elegant West, but completely ignorant of the meaning of day-to-day life in the former Yugoslavia.

Sendijarević has a knack for capturing images of modern Bosnia: big shiny neon billboards sprouting against Tito-era brutalist apartment blocks; small towns hugging the mountainside; crumbling farmhouses that are nearly always nicer on the inside than they look on the outside. It’s not a tourist’s view. It’s the view of someone who has been disconnected and wants to ‘return’ but is unsure of what that return means. Maybe this film is her way of trying to figure it out.