Rab Film Festival 2023: Dealing with the Past

This August, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe and the Sarajevo Film Festival partnered with the 5th edition of the Rab Film Festival within the Dealing with the Past program.




Through this partnership, the Rab Film Festival (RAFF) provided its audience with a profound cinematic experience by screening "The Happiest Man in the World." This emotionally charged film took viewers on a journey, delving into themes of lightheartedness, deep-seated anger, and forgiveness. What made this screening even more impactful was the presence of the film's screenwriter, Elma Tataragić, who engaged in a thought-provoking Q&A session following the screening.

However, the audience was surprised to learn that "The Happiest Man in the World" is not a work of fiction; it draws its inspiration from real-life events and Elma's life story from wartime Sarajevo. Elma Tataragić's participation in the post-screening discussion proved to be enlightening and honest. The conversation delved into the profound themes of trauma and healing, shedding light on the gaps in our societies when dealing with the past. Tataragić emphasized the significance of intimate histories – those personal, lesser-known stories that carry a unique perspective and the weight of war's impact.

One of the most valuable takeaways from Elma Tataragić's reflections was her perspective on contributing to the narratives of the past. She asserted that those who have personally experienced the tragedies of war possess both the right and the responsibility to share their stories. Tataragić's film serves as a poignant example of this, as it brings one such story to life on the silver screen, allowing the audience to witness a piece of history that might otherwise remain untold.

In addition to the film screening, Tanja Novak skillfully moderated another conversation between Elma Tataragić and Dr. Ralf Melzer, the head of the FES SOE office, on past, memory culture and art. Their dialogue raised essential questions about our societies' readiness to confront their pasts such as the possibility of forgiveness without acknowledging and addressing the painful truths of history and how to pave the way for a clean future for new generations.

The 5th edition of Rab Film Festival festival not only showcased captivating films but also ignited new ideas and fostered collaboration that will continue to enrich our cultural landscape and generate an impact on profoundly dealing with the past.

"The Happiest Man in the World" and the discussions that followed at RAFF remind us of the power of film to confront the past, promote healing, and inspire change. As we continue to reflect on these themes, FES SOE remains committed to our dedication to actively participating in the discourse surrounding the past in this region and facilitating the transfer of the invaluable lessons that will shape a brighter future.

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