Q&A with Dionis Escorsa, director of the film
Room Service for Bombed Buildings, 17’ | Serbia | 2004 | Documentary
***3rd Balkan Can Kino Film Symposium
Curated By Balkan Can Kino
1. How did you get the idea for your film? What is your relation to the story depicted in the movie?
“Room Service for Bombed Buildings,” is based on the experience that supposed for me the view of the ruins of war during my first visit to Serbia in 2000, when Milosevic was still in power, a few months after the NATO bombings that finish the Kosovo’s war, to meet the family of my partner, the artist Vahida Ramujkic, with whom I lived in Barcelona. “Room Service” is the formalization of a naïve thought that came to my mind while driving by the Kneza Milosa, contemplating the ruins of Generalstab (the Ministry of defense): “Someone will have to clean all this”, I commented to my mother-in-law.
2. How long did the film’s production take? What obstacles did you face during and after the shooting?
That first stay was very short, and I was not able to film yet. It took a couple or three years to go back and film. I had to ask permission to the Ministry of Defense in order to enter the building with a team of cleaning women. I never imagined that Colonel Zoran Zavic, head of the military communication department, would allow me to shoot this impossible document.
3. The scenes involving the Coca-Cola bottles – and their implied political commentary – left a big impression on us. Would you like to add a few words regarding those scenes?
The same cleaning women organized this scene. They deeply understood that the war they suffered as losers was due to a forced dismantling of what might have been left of the communist regime that had worked best in Europe. They had perceived the NATO bombing as another action by the American capitalist global police.
4. In what condition are the buildings today? Have they been restored after all these years?
Most of them are restored, except precisely the defense ministry, which is still in ruins. I would leave it as is, painted pink. It seems to me that it has an important symbolic charge. Beyond their tragic desolation, the ruins are the substrate from which all historiography, every museum, and therefore all cultural construction is created. They constitute the vestige or the footprint of past events, the remains of what once was, of what now the academy can only speculate. Somehow, the culture consists in cleaning ruins, thats why “Room Service” is so effective.
5. We know that you have completed other films on the same subject. How did your relationship with it evolve over time? Are you considering of further exploring this theme?
The post-war situation in the former Yugoslavia has been the subject of much of my work for almost two decades now. I have directed alone the feature film “Y”, a dream film about the psychological consequences of the use of rape as a weapon of war, and co-directed with my former wife, the also artist Vahida Ramujkic, “Storm and return home”, a documentary in two chapters which deals with the consequences for the local inhabitants of the operation “Oluja”, which put under Croatian control a Serbian isolated territory. I hope to be able to do more works in Serbia in the future, but they may no longer touch on that subject, which is fortunately carried away by the wind.
*Q&A conducted by Balkan Can Kino
Dionis Escorsa (Tortosa, Catalonia, 1970) started out as a painter in the early nineties, and gradually broadened the scope of his work to include photography, installations and video. In all of his video productions, where he mostly works with amateur actors exploring specific geographical contexts, Escorsa chooses a metaphorical and oneiric language that allows him to express the non linearity of thought.
He exhibited individually in many art centers, this last year in KCB Belgrad, Halfhouse and the Suñol foundation in Barcelona. As filmmaker, he directed the feature film “Y“, premiered in 2013 at the Kino der Kunst Festival of Munich, and shown, among others, at Xcentric Festival of CCCB in Barcelona, or IBAFF of Murcia, Spain. His short films were also shown in festivals such Oberhausen Kurz filmtage, Cosi fan tutte of Vienna, Festival de cine de Málaga, Hamburg kurz film festival, OVNI festival of Barcelona, Festival de Cine Pobre of Santiago de Cuba, Berlin kurz film festival or Flux festival of Barcelona.