09/06/2010 10:28

“Besa” at Moscow International Film Festival

Film “Besa” by our prominent director Srdjan Karanovic, which you will be able to see tonight at Serbian National Theatre, at 20:30h, will be screened at 32nd Moscow International Film Festival, held from 17th till 26th of June. Jury, which is presided by world famous Luc Besson, will choose the best film from 17 competing films. Moscow International Film Festival is among the oldest in the world. For the first time it was held in 1935, but the chronology of the festival begins in 1959, when it became a regular event. Some of the most famous winners of prestigious St. George award were Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, Andrzej Wajda… From 2000, president of MIFF is Nikita Mikhalkov, one of Russia’s most esteemed directors.

“Besa” is a love story based on true events. The narrative is set during World War I. A young Serbian teacher Philip moves into a small Serbian province to start working as a teacher. He comes with his wife Lea, whom he met during his studies in Western Europe He doesn’t succeed in getting a position of a high school principal since war breaks out and he goes to join the military. He leaves his young and beautiful wife under the care of Azem, a patriarchal and illiterate Albanian who works as a school custodian. Azem gives Philip his solemn oath, “besa” (in Albanian tradition “besa” is a solemn oath that must be kept no matter what) that he will look after Lea and see to it that nothing happens to her. Two people of entirely different religious and cultural upbringing are forced to cohabitate in an abandoned school while the war keeps raging in the background. Their relationship evolves from hatred and misunderstanding until it becomes not just mere tolerance but a unique friendship that gradually grows into a form of a love connection, which is considered forbidden on so many levels. Unexpected feelings of love between Lea and Azem will bring into light numerous dilemmas and question the moral codex of “besa”, a promise one must keep even at the price of one’s own life.

“Besa” is a co-production of seven production companies from Serbia, Slovenia, France, Hungary and Croatia. Chief producer is Film House Bas Celik.