When the war started, we thought it was simply impossible.
What, am I supposed to expect my first neighbor to come and kill me?
Oh, come on it's not possible! But it is very possible and it happened.
In 1991, war broke out in the former Yugoslavia. The ensuing conflicts
left up to a quarter of a million people dead or missing in the
region and made refugees of more than half of the national population
of Bosnia & Herzegovina. And despite wide international attention,
understanding of these conflicts is still vague and detached.
Told through the intimate stories of Natasa, a Serbo-Croat from
Croatia, and Tahija, a Bosniak (a Bosnian Muslim), Picture
Me an Enemy
puts a human face on these distant conflicts. Although pictured
to one another, and to the world, as longtime enemies, Natasa and
Tahija speak a common truth about how those in power used religion,
ethnicity and nationality to construct the "enemy" during the conflicts.
It is a moving portrait of two young women who reach beyond their
national identities to address universal questions of conflict,
peace and forgiveness with sensitivity and unexpected humor.
was just beginning college when the war erupted in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
She lived through the worst of the war in Sarajevo, running past snipers
on her way home from work. In the summer of 1998, the Picture
Me an Enemy
crew traveled with Tahija back to her home in Sarajevo. Tracing Tahija's
footsteps through the past and into the present, we gain a unique
view of Bosnian life and culture as well as the horror she went through.
Tahija's introduction to Bosnia challenges stereotypes about her country
and the Muslim religion. And her firsthand experience of war is a
window into the brutality and suffering that results from such conflicts.
Natasa Borcanin, originally from Osijek, Croatia, was a high school
student when war erupted in Croatia. In formal interviews and intimate
settings, Natasa discusses her experience of war breaking out in her
country and then what it was like to watch these conflicts unfold
on television from the US where she was an exchange student. As a
Croat with mixed ethnicity (her father is Serbian and her mother is
Croatian), Natasa represents the innate complexity of these wars.
She and her family suffered as victims of discrimination in her Croatian
hometown and yet for Natasa, the war was "not a war of our generation...we
never knew of these hatreds between ethnic groups." Natasa provides
a unique perspective on the complexities of personal identity and
the danger of assigning people to rigid ethnic groups.
With candid and revealing perspectives rarely seen on the evening news,
Tahija and Natasa provide new insights into these, often-misunderstood,
conflicts. And although the documentary focuses on the conflicts of the
former Yugoslavia, the themes raised within, reach far beyond the borders
of any one country.
in Philadelphia and the former Yugoslavia, Picture
Me an Enemy
inter-cuts archival news footage and abstract Super 8 vignettes
with the post-war reflections of Tahija and Natasa in a style that
is both engaging and sincere. This is supplemented with archival
footage from the war and a wealth of images of the people and places
of the former Yugoslavia. Award-winning editor Barbara Burst combines
these elements in an engaging and sincere way. Blending sounds from
East, West, folk and pop, the film's soundtrack features the music
of diaSonic, an international act recently featured on MTV and Fox
Television. The musicians, Milan Kovacev and Damir Prcic, who, like
Tahija and Natasa, come from opposing sides of the conflict in the
former Yugoslavia, find a common ground through music by combining
classical, hip hop and electronic dance music with folk songs from
Serbia and Bosnia.
documentary is especially unique because of the visibly sincere friendship
developed over six years between the vis à vis productions crew and
Tahija & Natasa. As they share their experiences, the viewer is introduced
to the images, humor, culture and life of the former Yugoslavia in
an up close and intimate way.
target audience for Picture
Me an Enemy
is people who care little about issues of war and conflict, and
would rarely ever sit down to watch a "war documentary." Although
told through the voices of two women from the former Yugoslavia,
the themes raised throughout Picture
Me an Enemy
reach far beyond the borders of any one country. At its core, this
is a story of two women who have the same fears, hopes and dreams
as women anywhere.
on the Making of Picture Me an Enemy"
Format: shot on mini DV and super 8 film, plus archival footage
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of Picture
Me an Enemy,
please contact Women Make Movies.
are still seeking (and in need of) support for the documentary. If you
can help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
vis à vis productions 2003
photographs and images on this site are the property of vis
à vis productions
and may not be used or reproduced in any way without written permission.