Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Chicken

Kokoška; drama short, Croatia / Germany, 2014; D: Una Gunjak, S: Iman Alibalić, Mirela Lambić, Esma Alić, Mario Knezović

During the siege of Sarajevo, the 6-year old Selma gets a live chicken from her father, who goes away to fight in the Bosnian Army. The girl is saddened by the chicken in the bathroom and sets it free through the window. Her mother thus has to catch the chicken outside, while a Serb sniper shoots at her. The mother returns to the apartment, kills the chicken with a knife and prepares a meal for Selma and her sister.

Una Gunjak's directorial debut is a realistic, 'raw' 15-minute drama short that depicts a survivalist tale about a family during the siege of Sarajevo, almost as a mini-document or a small 'slice-of-life' story during these kind of crisis times. The depiction of humiliation of the mother and her two kids who cannot get out of the apartment out of fear from sniper fire is palpable, though it is presented in a neutral and objective manner, while it also contemplates about some dark aspects of existence, from the one in which the stronger try to kill the weak (the sniper fire that opens on the mother) up the observation that in order to survive even those weak have to kill others (the gruesome sequence in which  the mother uses a knife to kill the chicken in the bathtub in order for her family to have something to eat). It is a small episode from their life, with too much unnecessary shots in the first half, yet it works nonetheless.


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