The Way of Hope

in 54th Valladolid International Film Festival

by Suncica Unevska

The Serbian-Albanian film Honeymoons by Goran Paskaljevic scored a big triumph at this year’s festival, winning three prizes from the international jury of critics, including the Golden Spike main prize and a special award for cultural diversity. This is Paskaljevic’s third Golden Spike, an unprecedented achievement. Honeymoons is a complex and committed story, an ironic depiction of the meaninglessness of nationalism and the status of immigrants facing European prejudice.

This film is the first co-production between Serbia and Albania, with the director courageously exploring the nebulous political and social situation in these countries as a result of articulated nationalism. He doesn’t blame anyone, but through a story of human love and warmth his film becomes a strong critique. His young people are trying to discover their boundaries but are prevented from moving forward.

This is simultaneously a beautiful, emotional film and a work which exposes the cruelty of time, people and politics: the absurdity of the power structure. Two young couples in different countries are faced with a moment where they must decide: will they go further? There is not enough will or fight to go around, especially when they must pay for the sins of their ancestors.

Through a simple, naturalistic script, Paskaljevic succeeds in addressing both very local and universal themes. In a sense, all human themes are universal, but the trouble begins when local agendas are seen as universal. Thanks to the clever characterization, the film never loses its flow. Paskaljevic and his Albanian cowriter Genc Permeti refer also to the status of immigrants and the prejudices at Europe’s front door: prejudices which may remove even the smallest hope for these young people.

The film is sharp, serious, sincere and brave. Most importantly, Paskaljevic manages to communicate the absurdity of the situation through film language. That contributes immeasurably to the value, beauty and vigor of this film.

Edited by Lesley Chow