Afterwar (2024) Berlinale 2024

February 17th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Birgitte Stærmose | with Gëzim Kelmendi, Xhevahire Abdullahu, Shpresim Azemi, Besnik Hyseni, Luan Jaha Denmark / Kosovo / Sweden / Finland 2024 Albanian, Subtitles: English 85′ Colour World premiere | Documentary form

This feature debut from Birgitte Stærmose takes us back to Bosnia for a raw reverie of an Eastern European conflict that still reverberates in the memories of those affected back in 1999. Fifteen years in the making and created in a close artistic collaboration with the cast who stare directly at the camera their faces still childlike, even though adulthood has now hardened them. They share bitter experiences of selling ‘phone cards and cigarettes in a struggle that still goes on decades later.

Pristina, war-torn Kosovo, is a grim city emerging slowly out of the festering fog of its slushy snowbound setting. In the dingy dawn of another day, car headlights glow, a red-eyed testament to the poverty and squalor that still dogs the capital. The documentary alternates between social realism, staged performance and an existential meditation on the long-term repercussions of war. Snapshots of shattered lives show that war may be over but a different war has now begun: that of survival. @MeredithTaylor



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