“GO WEST”–Yugoslavia on DVD

“Go West”

Yugoslavia on DVD

Amos Lassen

We rarely get to see films from Yugoslavia and even rarer is a gay film from there. Thanks to WaterBearer Films, we will soon have the opportunity to see “Go West”. It is a story set in the 90’s when the Yugoslav Federation falls apart because of wars. Milan is a perpetual student from Serbia, a patriarchal community. Kenan is a Muslim cellist and the two men are a gay couple living together in Sarajevo. Their lives are changed forever by the invasion of the oppression in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The devastating consequences cause hatred for minority groups. The lovers manages to escape and take refuge with Milan’s father as they attempt to get to the Netherlands, Milan is forced, due to the hatred espoused toward Muslims, to disguise Kenan as a woman and presents him as his wife, Milena. Suddenly Milan is drafted and the situation becomes that more unbearable.

Here is a powerful combination of genocide and cinema. The film predicts that homosexuals will continue to be hated and the movie has been condemned by the government of Yugoslavia as well as by political leaders. The film does not just deal with the future of Yugoslavia but with the future of humanity. It is not just about love between two men but it also about the conflict between savagery and mercy in Serbia. The horrific scenes we see remind us of power of compassion, love and humor. Here is a movie that is not just about war but about peace as well.

Here is a powerful story about love and hate reaching across ethnic and religious boundaries. Told in flashback as Milan is being interviewed by a French journalist, we watch Yugoslavia being torn apart as ethnic groups espies their hatred and begin killing each other.

The portrayal of the oppression and discrimination that was present in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Here was oppression against Muslims and gays. When you see what hatred can do, you realize how we must proceed in life to avoid it at all costs.

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