MARIJA ZIDAR, DIRECTOR
Marija Zidar (1976) is a Slovenian filmmaker. Her background is in Journalism (BA in Journalism; BA in English Language and Literature) - and she has a PhD in Sociology at the University of Ljubljana. She is passionate about presenting thoroughly investigated social issue stories through intimate, sensitive and empathetic visual storytelling. She has written three mid-length documentaries for Television Slovenia, and directed one. 'Reconciliation', shot in Albania since 2014, is the debut feature documentary.
The Contrabandits of Identity (‘Tihotapci Identitete’), 2016, Slovenia, documentary, 52 min.
Reconciliation is a slow-burning observation of both the tragedy and absurdity of a male conflict in a highly patriarchal Balkan society. A young woman lost her life in the crossfire. My eye, and the camera, focused on the men making decisions about her legacy, witnessing the reality of conversations and rituals – from which, from times immemorial, women were excluded.
There are such conflicts in every family, every society everywhere. Yet here, in Albania, the protagonists were facing profoundly complex circumstances. The dramatic social situation in the 1990s saw the revival of old value systems, along with a half-forgotten ancient code of law, the Kanun. A quarter of a century later, the protagonists in my film still cannot agree on which value system to rely on to resolve the conflict.
The father’s wounds of the past spoke to Albania, and the Balkans, looking back to centuries of unresolved conflict, with differing perspectives. And now, they stood for Europe, where the rising far-right populism is serving to the disenfranchised old solutions for modern problems. The film, together with the protagonists, seeks meaning in a precarious present, and asks difficult questions.
With Reconciliation, I aimed to offer a nuanced portrayal of patriarchy, and a woman’s observation of a patriarchal conflict – one that the audiences can also read from the face of the mother in my film, standing silently in the corner.