Countless poems, paintings, photos and our very human eyes account for the stupendous beauty of Nature. Colors, odours, and sounds all exist in harmony; all parts of the eternal recycling of energy that round and round it goes. But, what once was the center of all life has now been pushed to the corners. If only the reasonable human would have stayed in check.
The Balkans Beyond Borders Film Festival continues with a strand dedicated to Nature and that ontological connection of all that surrounds every inch of Mother Earth. Instead of showcasing a magnificent hidden gem in the world, it kickstarts with Klodiana Millona, Endi Tupja, and Yuan Chun Liu’s Earthmovers (2020), an experimental short documentary essay about the demolition of the National Theater of Tirana. Essentially defining bulldozers as manmade caterpillars, the filmmakers refer to the fact that Earth is being reshaped by all this meddling humans are doing with all the construction and destruction throughout the decades. A collective choice it might not be, but collective consequences humanity will face in the years to come.
Moving forward, the festival includes Nazmi Latifi and Albulena Kurti’s Nosotros (2020) – a documentary about Nature and the desolate state it’s in at this point in time. The short has a clear premise: Nature on its own is magnificent, but when humans are added to the equation all her glory is lost under all the garbage and decay. This is manifested on screen first by juxtaposing healthy parts of natural scenery with manmade environments full of waste. But the techniques used are escalated further when rich greenery becomes an isolated point of a bigger picture when the camera zooms out leading to shots that are filled with lifeless Nature at the hands of man. Showing a gradual demise through stages, Nosotros argues that it’s that global “we” that carries the responsibility for countless natural disasters. The time will come that the “we” will pay the price and Nature will keep on going with no extra weight dragging her down.
Of course, there are others that find solace in natural landscapes and prefer this way of life than an urban reality. Nevena Desivojević’s Outside the Oranges are Blooming (2019) is a visually intimidating film – in a good way. Ominous and grandiose mountains covered in mist while religious chants cover the landscape. Though obviously not depicted as a threat, the short demonstrates the awe-inspiring parts of Nature; those that intimidate, and make adamantly clear the power hierarchy that is in order. Harsh is also the man that the short follows. He prefers the dark corners of his home than going to church and/or socializing. Fog and trees. Lake and mountain. These are the man’s companions – the places he feels most comfortable in. He never shares the screen with anyone; the only person heard is another woman – her identity, a mystery that will never be solved. He plans to remain within his doorstep apart from the moments he’ll spend walking amidst the rough parts no one else dares to face.
Nature knows best. In a world in which every action brings about a reaction, the time will come that She will hit the final blow. Not for her – but for us.