Summer in the Golden Valley: Hope and Despair

in 8th Sofia International Film Festival

by Danko Jesic

“Summer in the Golden Valley” is a film about hope and despair, clash between traditional Muslim values and modern lack of values, friendship and betrayal, honesty and corruption.

Sixteen years old Fikret is good-for-nothing, glue-sniffing rap singer wannabe kid. His life changes drastically when he loses his father. Fikret expects to be able to honor his father in the traditional Muslim way. But Hamid, a local criminal, who tells them that the dead man owes him 50.000 marks, although no one ever knew about this, disrupts ceremony.

No one, including Fikret, asks any questions, because they don’t believe that someone would lie at the funeral. Now, this debt is a question of honor. According to Muslim customs, this is a great shame for Fikret and his family, and the son is determined to redeem his father’s memory by paying the debt. Now he starts to understand the brutal reality of life in post-war Sarajevo. He has only one week to find the money, and this is not an easy task. Two crooked policemen from the hood ask Fikret and his best friend to help them by keeping a kidnapped girl for a few days. If everything ends well, Fikret will get his 50.000. The girl is behaving in a capricious manner and she obviously is not afraid of the boys. After a few days, Fikret falls in love with the girl, sets her free, and suddenly understands that there are more important matters in life than just money. At the other side, the young girl from the rich and respectable family also comprehends that money has no importance in her life. They are both in a way unhappy because of money. He is in a desperate need for money, this is the only way to solve his problems, she is in desperate need for love and adventure, and she would gladly give all her money for that. Fikret and his friend became mature in every way, they’ve decided to let the girl go, and try to get their money by double crossing the policemen and girl’s father. This young people have some moral motivation of a sort, besides collecting ransom money. The director tries to explain what they do and how right are they to do it.

Things are starting to get bad when the policemen find out that the girl is not there. One of them goes mad and tries to kill them all, to leave no evidence of his crime. Suddenly, he decides to take his own life instead, because he was tormented with his dirty deeds. The girl gives money to Fikret and now, he can redeem his father’s debt. The shocking thing is that he finds out the debt wasn’t existing at all. This was just a perverted joke of an evil man.

Fikret and his friend now have a chance for a fresh start. Fikret is again dating his high school sweetheart – the daughter of a policeman who tried to kill him.