Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Dimitar Anakiev


I met Elena Avdija in September 2014 during a film festival in Brest, France. She was presenting her documentary film „Do you like it better here or there?“ about young Albanians from Kosovo who were forced to leave Kosovo during the repression of Milošević regime. This film speaks from her experience and presents a foundation of Elena's authors interest. The thematic frame is broad, universal and contemporary, it includes topics like: relation to the tradition and modernity, dilemmas between ethnocentrism and multiculturalism, drama of contemporary identity for young people and role of individualism within the traditional society. She approaches these topics through the collective memory of ethnical violence, wars and exile from the post­ Stalinist Balkans which are very similar to the stories of other neo-­colonial provinces of the contemporary world: Palestine, Syria, Ukraine etc. In that way author's voice of Elena Avdija is not only a voice of a young woman from Kosovo living in Western exile but it represents a voice of the young people from margine of the world. She reached the universality of her artistic language through uncompromising commitment to the truth, not afraid of open conflict with social norms. It is interesting that her film “Do you like it better here or there?” is shown on the both sides of recent ethnic war (Kosovo and Serbia) causing great interest and serving as a critical intercultural bridge. In today contemporary world we need more and more such bridges that offer social dialogue and open facing of the problems.

With no doubts Elena Avdija is an author with bright future. That is not only because of her social intelligence and artist talent but chiefly because of her author's courage and readiness to face open social problems crossing the borders of political taboos. As an author she doesn't make any compromise with the messages of her work. She openly defends multiculturalism and open society, communication between social groups in circumstances of war and post ­war hate; she is also ready to publicly discuss and defend her standing points related to her artistic work. In Brest she participated in discussion after the screening of her film with great passion and dedication. She is an artist with clear mission after the very fist step.

I think such authors like Elena Avdija must be recognized and supported by progressive social forces. I warmly recommend her work. As the editor of Post Yugoslav Black Wave program at Belgrade Short and Documentary Film Festival 2015 I included her film in our program as one of the most promising film authors of the Balkans and I look forward to seeing her new works.

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