I recently attended the screening of Irish feature film ‘As if I am not There’ at the BAFTA HQ London. Selected for the Oscars as Ireland’s entry for the best foreign language film, this epic Bosnian war drama left the shell shocked audience completely silenced. I felt similar to how I felt after watching Steve Mc Queens ‘Hunger’ upset, uneasy and slightly disturbed. Nonetheless, I also felt inspired and excited that there are artistic film makers are out there, actively telling gritty real life stories. There are so many more stories to be told!
There was a Q&A after with Irish director Juanita Wilson and it was very interesting to hear all about the film making process, first hand from her point of view. She spoke of her initial reading of the book, to funding, to script, to casting, to filming particularly difficult scenes and the practicality of language barriers on set.
The story, told through the eyes of a young girl (Natasa Petrovic) is at times so real that it’s painful to watch. There is little dialogue and Petrovics performance is incredibly faultless, considering she was a drama school student in her first major film role. The film looks at the use of systematic rape as a form of torture. This is a film about horrendous war crimes, it wasn’t a pleasant film to watch, yet it has been imprinted on my brain. A difficult story to tell, it is so incredibly important that it was so beautifully told. It made me think about war and humanity and its lasting affects and it made me cry.. a lot!
Best of luck at the Oscars and congratulations Juanita Wilson and all the cast and crew. The determination and hard work has really paid off and you have an extraordinary piece of film to show for it.
above image of myself and Irish actress Amy-Joyce Hastings at BAFTA HQ London, taken from the Irish Film and Television website.