An Australian tourist discovers the silent legacy of wartime atrocities when she arrives in a seemingly idyllic little town on the border of Bosnia and Serbia. From Jasmila Zbanic, director of the Golden Bear winner Grbavica.
For Those Who Can Tell No Tales
Jasmila Zbanic's For Those Who Can Tell No Tales is a meditative tribute to the endangered memory of the Visegrad massacre, in which up to 3,000 people were murdered during the Bosnian War. It confronts the viewer with the massacre's true scope — and its continued denial by the writers of history.
On a summer holiday through Bosnia- Herzegovina, Kym is the picture of an average tourist: visiting the sites and souvenir shops promoted in her guidebooks, keeping a video diary. Yet her stay at a hotel in Visegrad inexplicably gives way to anxiety and sleepless nights. Upon returning home to Australia, she finds out that the Vilina Vlas hotel was used as a rape camp during the war. Evocations of the region's atrocities begin to haunt her, as does the question of why the guidebook, or the town itself, made no mention of the event. The spectre of trauma is finally so insistent that she is compelled to return to Visegrad and investigate this hidden history for herself.
Kym is portrayed here by performance
artist Kym Vercoe, on whose own story the
film is based. Valiantly revisiting her own
experiences, Vercoe delivers a performance
of unshakable veracity and immediacy,
while Zbanic carefully structures the film
like a puzzle, subtly piecing together the
progression of Kym's personal investment
in the atrocities and revealing the willful
amnesia that surrounds Visegrad. Zbanic's
camera glides over the town's topography
as though searching for the dormant memories
that lie within. Part drama, part essay
film, For Those Who Can Tell No Tales is an
important work of cinema as well as a history
document, making us living witness to
its troubling revelations.