An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Italy, Slovenia 2013 – 75min.

Movie Rating

An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker

Urs Arnold
Movie Rating: Urs Arnold

Drama about a Roma family in Bosnia-Herzegovina: a miscarriage and lack of insurance almost cost Senada her life.

Nazif lives with his wife Senada and their two young daughters in extremely humble circumstances. As an iron picker, he take cars apart and sells the pieces, just about making ends meet. In a snowy central Bosnian Roma village where they live in a small house, they stick to each another despite the hard life they lead. But a cold wind blows against the couple outside. When Senada miscarries, the state hospital refuses lifesaving treatment because they have no insurance. The doctor comments harshly: "No money, no operation". The necessary 980 marks – about CHF 600 – is a horrendous sum for them. Over the next few days, Nazif desperately tries to find a way to get the money, while Senada’s condition worsens.

Bosnian director Danis Tanoviċ (No Man's Land) read this story in the local paper in December 2011. The article affected him so strongly that he researched the incident. Tanoviċ didn’t just want to use this episode to shed light on conditions in the state’s social services and humanity in general as a “true story”: he wanted to make the film with the highest level of realism possible. His success is impressive. If the state doesn’t protect the lives and dignity of its citizens, movies like this will become obligatory.



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