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Film Depicts Cruelty of War

  • Amra Alirejsovic

Harun Mehmedinovic is a young Bosnian-American filmmaker who is studying at the American Film Institute (A.F.I.) in California, one of the most prestigious film schools in the world. His latest short film is "In the Name of the Son," a film that begins during the war in Bosnia during the early ‘90s and ends in present day America. It is a story of survival and living with guilt. VOA's Amra Alirejsovic caught up with the film's director and stars in Los Angeles. Jim Bertel narrates.

"What attracted me to this movie,” says director Harun Mehmedinovic, “is the idea of having two men close to death. The one you expect to survive, dies, and the one you expect to die, survives. A father kills his own son. I began developing the movie from that very moment, a father killing his son. It was important to me to avoid the question of religion and politics, and to focus on the human aspect of the story."

Harun Mehmedinovic created "In the Name of the Son" as his master's thesis for school but is gaining plaudits far beyond the classroom. The film will be featured at this year's Bosnia Herzegovinian Film Festival in New York City in May (May 11 - 12).

Bosnian actor Zeljko Dimic says it was difficult preparing to play the Bosnian Serb father who kills his son.

"I worked a lot on emotions and I was thinking a lot about my character, what kind of a father could kill his son because of an idea and circumstances called war? I came to the conclusion that my character represents what has been happening to us for centuries. He could wear any uniform, with any insignia, and kill his own son for something that simply vanishes. With this character I also wanted to send a message of how senseless it is to give or take life for something we believe is worth more than life itself," Dimic said.

Sergej Trifunovic plays the dead boy's friend who eventually moves to the U.S. "I think this movie is very human, very touching and disturbing at the same time. But it is also very important, because it does not take sides."

Mehmedinovic was a child in Sarajevo during the war and says he lived in constant fear for his life. "There is no character in this movie that I can identify with. My war is different from their war."

As he prepares to graduate from A.F.I., Mehmedinovic says his next goal is to make a full-length feature film.