Yugoslavia, or more pertinently, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was established as a central European communist ideal in 1945. Comprising Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia and Montenegro, it was a socialist federation which distanced itself from the USSR to its east and pursued a policy of neutrality. As with any utopian construct, in actuality there were problems and privations. However, given the number of disparate groups and peoples who fell under the banner, its success was a minor miracle.
The rise of Slobodan Milošević, the Yugoslav wars and the eventual dissolution of the federation, saw great pain and hardship. One of the Serb’s most vocal critics was Srbijanka Turajlic, a professor at the University of Belgrade and an active member of the Otpor! (Resistance) movement. In her new documentary The Other Side of Everything, Mila Turajlic traces the history of Serbia through the eyes of her mother.
The Other Side of Everything is a fascinating insight into the history of a country from someone who has played an active role in trying to shape its destiny. It’s an unusual way to tackle a documentary but one which delivers handsome rewards. It’s one thing to know the facts. It’s another to understand the context and minutiae behind them. Mila Turajlic has produced a film which doesn’t just chart the history of her country but acts as a rallying call for a new generation to take up the fight.
The Other Side of Everything screens at Bertha Dochouse from 7 November.