Recollection: a film presentation about Kosovo in the 90s

During the late 1990s, as tensions built in the former Yugoslav territory of Kosovo and then exploded into open warfare, Albanian children in urban areas, away from the fighting, built a private world of meaning and intimacy from the swirl of mediated sounds and images that entered their homes. With television fare restricted to Serbian and imported programming, Albanians countered by producing VHS music videos disseminated via a private, semi-underground distribution network. In his experimental film Recollection Art Haxhijakupi recreates his childhood memories of this period by juxtaposing clips of Serbian television programming and Albanian videos with scenes filmed by his mother of himself as a small child, together with young relatives, as they play in the streets, dance to Turkish cassettes at a family wedding, and perform for each other songs they have learned from the Albanian media.

Recollection explores and underlines the author’s thoughts and struggles with memory and identity, and it celebrates the collective journey in an era of oppression and resistance during the Serbian regime in Kosovo. In the intersection between two different realities, this narrative is spontaneously built and never simply over. The rhizomatic structure of this documentary leaves many spaces and fractures in which events and experiences become more significant. Recollection also focuses attention on the forced ethnic detachment of the public and private domains due to ethnic segregation of the 90s in Kosovo.

Art Haxhijakupi is an artist and researcher from Kosovo. He has previously worked for various institutions and art organisations both in Kosovo and the UK, such as Arts Catalyst and DMovies among others. He studied Cultural Studies, and also English Literature. He has received several honorary awards before, including the Chevening Award in the UK. His film Recollection premiered at the 16th edition of DOKUFEST International Documentary and Short Film Festival.