Q&A with Stijn Bouma, director of the film
Lejla, 21’55” | Bosnia and Herzegovina | 2017 | Fiction
***3rd Balkan Can Kino Film Symposium
Balkan Family *Guest-Curator: Balkans Beyond Borders
In Lejla, the female protagonist is faced with a dilemma and finds it hard to choose her own happiness. What inspired you to make the portrait of this particular character?
As I was living in Sarajevo, I met quite a few young people with a similar story. They felt stuck in their place and wanted to leave. Their stories inspired me and then I found the basis for the story in a short story by James Joyce, in the Dubliners. This short story moved me and was the foundation for the film.
It can be argued that the rhythm and overall feeling in your film evokes or at least is reminiscent of a European naturalistic tradition. Do you acknowledge such influences in your work?
Yes. I believe in cinema which is rooted in reality, not in fantasy. In a cinema which doesn’t need spectacular effects or tricks. In a kind of cinema which dignifies the everyday life, which surrounds us. The filmmakers which inspired me are Bergman, Bresson, Tarkovsky and of course Angelopoulos : )
Your upcoming project will be your first feature film. How did you experience this transition between making short films and making your first feature film? How were you challenged or surprised in the process?
I’m still in the process of writing my first feature film. The difficult thing is the structure of the narrative, the longer length to do something that is interesting. For now it’s a long way, with a lot of waiting and developing. I hope to get back on set as soon as possible for one of my own projects. What I think is that in short film you can get away with things, you don’t really need to have a vision or something to say. In a feature film this seems absolutely necessary, to create a compelling and fascinating work.
*Q&A conducted by Balkan Can Kino