VIFF 2018: The Museum of Forgotten Triumphs
Canada/Bosnia and Herzegovina
Emilija and Josip, an old Yugoslavian couple, tell stories to their grandson.
They lived through the Bosnian War, they nearly died, they were forced to move, but they never left the country, and so, despite that period of death and strain, when they reminisce traumatic incident and non-events spill out in the same relaxed manner. All they have to battle is when their partner speaks over them.
This is how the grandson, Bojan Bodružić, the director of this film, documents them. It doesn’t appear that The Museum of Forgotten Triumphs, despite the title, started from a place of ambition—it took 15 years to shoot, the earliest footage a short video message across continents for Bodružić and his family in Vancouver. (The film focuses only on Sarajevo.) These are home videos not so much capturing how he related to his grandparents (it’s there, only incidentally) as documenting his intellectual connections to them, his understanding of them as he never saw them.
Emilija, like most grandparents faced with the questions of a younger generation, wonders just how interesting all these stories can be. But for Bodružić, who arranges his film as a deepening, achronological eulogy, it is easy to sense the desire to pay tribute, to look without pity and with incredible affection.