An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker
Winner of the Jury Grand Prix Silver Bear award at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker showcases the intense difficulties disadvantaged Bosnia-Herzegovina communities face today.
It tells the story of a poor Roma family: Nazif, his wife Senada and their two small daughters. While Nazif salvages metal from old cars and sells it to a dealer, Senada takes care of the house and the children. She is pregnant, and one day feels a terrible pain in her stomach. At the hospital they find out that she needs an immediate surgery but, because of the lack of an insurance card, Nazif has to pay 980 marks, which he simply cannot afford.
Director Danis Tanović, with five other films under his belt, illustrates two important relevant themes here: alienation and discrimination. In fact, as he claims: “We live today in a society that turns its head away from the socially unprivileged and behaves as if it cannot see the horror that surrounds it.”
Tanović read Senada’s case in a newspaper in 2011 and, being angry about the situation, decided to film it. Nazif’s family, at the beginning a bit scared, eventually agreed to play themselves in this dramatic movie. Even though they are not professional actors they very natural and expressive. The movie, shot with a Canon 5D Mark II, took only nine days.
In spite of the expectations garnered by the important themes, this movie is unfortunately not that interesting. The lack of music and almost total absence of dialogue make it very slow and hard to follow – most of the scenes are covered by background noise or by the daughters’ screams. Unfortunately, Nazif does not seem to be frantic, scared or particularly worried, as he probably was.
An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, shot in winter, is an authentic portrait of poverty that does not even think to protest. The grey shots signify the kind of life that these people have accepted while society looks the other way.
An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker is released in cinemas nationwide on 25th April 2014.
Watch the trailer for An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker here: