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BOSNIAN POT

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by Pavo Marinković

grade: 7

Bosnian Pot is a pleasant, witty and extremely topical feature film. The story of a man, of a worthy artist, which could also be the story of thousands of others who, like him, were forced to leave their homeland many, many years ago. At the Diagonale 2024.

Theatre will save us

As we all know, it is not easy to work in the arts. Yet, while such a career in itself can be rather problematic, things could even get more complicated when one has to find work urgently in order to be able to keep one’s residence permit in a foreign country. Faruk (played by an excellent Senad Bašic), the protagonist of the feature film Bosnian Pot, directed by Pavo Marinković in 2022 and presented as part of the programme of the Diagonale 2024, knows something about this.

A co-production between Austria and Hungary, Bosnian Pot tells the (sometimes bizarre) story of Faruk, a former writer and professor from Sarajevo who has been living in Graz since the Yugoslav war. Here he occasionally works as a radio presenter, but due to various misunderstandings with his boss (Aleksandar Petrović) he loses his job. As if all this were not enough, the man, after submitting a late application for renewal of his residence permit, risks being sent away from Austria. The only thing to do, in order to be able to stay, is to urgently find a job. The possibility of staging one of his youth plays at a small local theatre could therefore be a good opportunity for him.

In Bosnian Pot, therefore, everything is about its magnetic protagonist. Faruk is a grumpy, introverted and even somewhat misanthropic man. When he is not working, he usually spends his days in his small attic, only occasionally going out to buy a bottle of schnapps or to meet a neighbour with whom he has been having an affair for some time. Making contact ‘with the outside world’, trying to interact with a new theatre troupe and even pursuing his own ideas is no easy task for him. Will he manage to stay in the city that has been his home for so many years?

Bosnian Pot undoubtedly presents funny and often even paradoxical situations. Yet at the same time, a certain melancholy acts as a constant leitmotif throughout the entire feature film. Through the adventures and misadventures of the protagonist, an intelligent and never banal criticism is made of the Austrian bureaucracy and certain laws that no longer seem to consider the human being as such. This claustrophobic situation from which it sometimes seems impossible to escape, however, often contrasts with the placid everyday life within the city of Graz (particularly contemplative are the moments in which the protagonist looks out of the window on his way home by tram) and with the undoubted charm of a small theatre, where bizarre personalities are encountered, but where ideas can often give rise to necessary manifestations of beauty.

Thanks to a good script and an overall directorial approach devoid of any virtuosity, Bosnian Pot turned out to be a pleasant, witty and extremely topical feature film. The story of a man, of a worthy artist who could also be the story of thousands of others who, like him, were forced to leave their homeland many, many years ago.

Original title: Bosnischer Topf
Directed by: Pavo Marinković
Country/year: Austria, Hungary / 2023
Running time: 104’
Genre: comedy, drama
Cast: Senad Bašić, Andreas Kiendl, Birgit Stöger, Bruna Bebić, Admir Glamočak, Zlatko Burić, Julia Franz Richter, Igor Kovač, Aleksandar Petrović, Goran Grgić, Wolfram Berger, Stjepan Peric
Screenplay: Pavo Marinković
Cinematography: Peter Roehsler
Produced by: Telefilm Zagreb, Nanook Film

Info: the page of Bosnian Pot on iMDb; the page of Bosnian Pot on the website of the Diagonale