There were no Danish feature films awarded at the Berlinale but out of almost nowhere comes a Danish/Serbian documentary “Flotel Europa” and wins an award according to a press release of today from DFI, the Danish Film Institute: Vladimir Tomic’s documentary about his memories from growing up on the refugee ship “Flotel Europa,” received the Reader’s Jury Award from the Berlin-based daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. Bravo! Background annotation of the film’s content:
“In 1992, a wave of refugees from the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina reached Denmark. With refugee camps completely full, the Red Cross pulled a giant ship into the canals of Copenhagen. The ship, Flotel Europa, became a temporary home for a thousand people waiting for decisions on their asylum applications. Among them was a young 12-year-old boy, Vladimir, who fled Sarajevo together with his mother and older brother. They spent two years in the limbo of Flotel Europa. Two decades later, Vladimir Tomic takes us on a journey of growing up on this ship filled with echoes of the war – and other things that make up an adolescence.”
I watched the film today and it is a very nice documentation – based on amateur video material – of the life on board a ship that we Copenhageners remember so well, also for the discussions on the bad conditions that were offered the refugees. Tomic story, however, is much more than that, through the personal and well written commentary that he delivers about the young kid growing up, seeing many of the grown ups going down mentally at the same time as he gets more and more aware of the girls around him, especially one called Melisa. In other words a fine small growing-up story in the middle of a sad political situation that brought Vladimir, his brother and strong mother away from Sarajevo. Interesting is also to hear about the internal ethnic conflicts among the refugees on the ship, as the kid saw it, remembered by the director more than 20 years later.
Denmark/Serbia, 2015, 70 mins.