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20 Aug 14

Same-Sex Comedy Tickles Sarajevo Festival-Goers

‘Love Island’, by Jasmila Zbanic and Aleksandar Hemon - which tackles the thorny issue of same-sex love from a comic angle - got a warm reception at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN Sarajevo
  Grebo, Liliane and Flora

A comic tale of spouses who find themselves confronted with old and new loves on a vacation in a resort met applause from the audience that watched it at the weekend at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

The latest film by award-winning Bosnian Jasmila Zbanic was another taboo-breaking achievement, dealing tactfully with issues of homosexuality.

A typical Bosnian man, Nedzad Grebo, played by Ermin Bravo, and his non-typical French wife, Liliane, played by Ariane Labed, are enjoying their summer vacation in a beach resort on the Croatian coast.

Grebo is a Bosnian with strong traditional convictions, which lend the film many comic scenes.

Meanwhile Liliane meets the hotel resort’s entertainer, Flora, who turns out to be her former lover with whom Liliane had an unresolved affair.

Flora, Grebo and Liliane are confronted with a dilemma when, despite the fact that she is soon to give birth, Liliane tells Grebo that she still loves her and wants to stay with her.

On receiving this shocking news, Grebo seems unable to comprehend the fact that his pregnant wife is leaving him for another woman. How can he explain this to his mother, he asks?

After the screening on the second night of the Sarajevo Film Festival, Zbanic said she hoped the film would bring “a wind of change” to Bosnia - Wind of Change being a song that Grebo performs at the hotel resort.

Speaking on Sunday within the film festival conversation session, the director said the aim had been to make something different.

The screenplay was written by her and by the Bosnian-American writer, Aleksandar Hemon, she recalled.

“When Hemon and I talked about the film we wanted it to be positive, funny movie with a happy ending,” she said.

“Good and bad criticisms are normal. I don't expect people to react to it in a good way right now, I want them to understand it and accept it,” she added.

“During the premiere of the film I was very nervous and was trembling but when I heard the applause afterwards, I was very, very happy,” she continued.  Suffice to say that Love Island does indeed end happily.

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