‘Whose is this Song?' by Adela Peeva screened to a packed audience at Kalabhavan theatre.
“I am very happy and honoured that I was invited for this festival and my films are being screened here,” said Bulgarian short film-maker Adela Peeva, who is also one of the ‘Film-makers in Focus' this year.
The second day of the fifth International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK) on Saturday showcased ‘Whose is this Song?' by this European Film Academy Award winner.
The film was screened to a packed audience at the Kalabhavan theatre, following which an interactive session on the film with the director and her husband and producer of some her films, Slobodan Milovanovic, was organised.
Adela Peeva, noted that the field of documentary film-making “doesn't merely constitute reportage, but is a multi-layered production.”
“The television in Bulgaria as well does not provide enough attention to the many documentaries being produced,” she said, echoing Gautam Ghosh's sentiment about Indian regional channels completely neglecting short fiction and documentaries.
The film ‘Whose is this Song,” began in 1999, when Adela Peeva and her friends, who belong to different Balkan nations, were having lunch at a restaurant in Turkey. On hearing a song being performed by the restaurant's musicians, all of them started singing different lyrics in different languages to the same tune. This led to an argument on whose nation did the song really belong, subsequently leading Peeva to visit Turkey, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and back to Bulgaria to solve the question, ‘Whose?'
Apart from the obvious quest, the film also depicts the underlying theme of European identity and the tension between these nations that is bubbling below the surface.
As Milovanovic pointed out, “the history and politics behind this film is highly complex and this film is even used as reference material in libraries.” During the discussion, Peeva read out a letter she received from a mass communication student in Mumbai who had watched the film. The student had included Bengali lyrics in the letter, saying the song had Bengali roots too. The highlight of the meet was that there was a Bengali in the audience who knew the song sang it to the tune that played throughout ‘Whose is this Song?'
She also spoke about the trouble she faced in directing, producing and screening films while the Communist regime was in power in Eastern Europe. Her documentary ‘In the name of sport' which was banned for six years from 1983 to 1989 was finally copied and smuggled to West Germany for screening.
“It was miracle that it got there,” she said, adding that the irony was that the film could not be screened as when it was about to be, the Berlin Wall fell. “If only Helmut Kohl (the then Chancellor of Germany) had waited just half an hour until he decided to initiate change,” joked Peeva.