“The Box” by Merve Cirisoglu Cotur is an animated movie about a boy, his trials and tribulations during the bombing of Syria. The film is dynamic, even though it is short and if I told you anything else about the plot, the experience of watching this project may not be the same.
To compensate that, I am going to tell you what made this film stand out to me during the first day of Balkans Beyond Borders short festival in Novi Sad. I was born in 1997 and was only two years old when my country, Serbia, met the same fate as Syria today. My city Novi Sad, among others, was shook to its core. I was still a baby, but even now my bones shiver every time I hear the sirens. Fortunately, my ears are no longer tortured by that sound, except in the movies like this one. I am not that knowledgeable in psychology, therefore I cannot explain how the brain creates such a defensive mechanism, even though I was very young and couldn’t exactly pinpoint at where the danger lies, but it is the only thing that makes my body shake intensively. Turkish director Cotur must have known that the sound of sirens can invoke such memories and feelings in people all around the world. Bombing was not the only problem during those days.
Nevertheless, the movie started many debates and discussions in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina about those days in Serbia, especially among older people. The theme of the festival has a lot to do with the similarities between Balkan people, and yet, in just six minutes, Merve was able to make the audience feel, again, like that boy far, far away.
Student at Media department of Faculty of philosophy, Novi Sad
As Stefan was wondering if Merve, the director, experienced similar fate or she just heard stories, Merve answered when asked and hetre is her answer: “When I was a student, I visited some Balkans countries like Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia. I saw the wounds of the war that I saw in the camps in Syria. I’m so touched to hear the nice comments of a war witness from the festival. I wish I could attend the festival in person and meet you and your guests.”
Merve Cirisoglu Cotur, filmmaker