The Balkan Bridges. Spectres of Europe – Film

An essay–documentary project in development (2017/2019), by Katharina Mihm (Berlin, 1983 - Filmmaker) and Guillem Serrahima (Barcelona, 1988 - Philosopher) about the vibrant materiality of bridges.

Reuters, Bosnia Herzegovina, 1993

“In the Balkans, bridges have legends. They connect not only two shores but also men. They defy both nature and history. Does NATO know when it destroys them?”
Nedim Gürsel, Liberation, 04 – 26 – 1999

At the same time as the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992, an ethnic, religious and fratricidal war was taking place in south-eastern Europe between the different communities of the recently dismantled Republic of Yugoslavia. While in one Europe there was talk of building social, political, cultural and economic bridges, in the other Europe symbolic and material bridges were destroyed. The traumatic ruins of those bridges still remain in the landscapes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo.

Ulrich Gansert, Novi Sad, 1994

Can we consider the bridges of the Balkans to be the blind spots on which the EU was built? In the Balkans, bridges have always had a great literary importance, the protagonists of legends and popular songs. A bridge is a brave and generous project: by enabling its constructor to travel to the other shore, it inevitably opens up a passage for the stranger to come to this shore. Both the bridge and its opposite, the wall (which multiply in our times), are human constructions, ideas of man modelled in stone.

Archive image. NATO bombing Novi Sad, 1994

Czech-born German filmmaker Harun Farocki wrote in 2006: “the cinematographer erects imaginary walls, opens and closes imaginary doors”; we should add that the cinematographer also erects imaginary bridges, with which to reflect our immediate present. This documentary-film project posits an investigation, and excavation, of European history itself for a look towards the future that awaits us.

Bridges of the Balkans research & filming territories: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo.

Produced by:

— Katharina Mihm (Austria, Germany)
— Nanookfilm (Austria)
— Playground produkcija (Serbia)

Ariadna Serrahima, Sarajevo, 2017