Drajcici, A Village at the Edge of Europe by Otto Reuschel is just the kind of first-timer full-length documentary that the Whickers are always thrilled about. Ottot is an Italian Croatian from Germany (yup, I know… he’s fluent in five languages too) who has been living in a semi derelict cottage high in the mountains on the border between Albania and Kosovo. He’s made this odd accommodation choice in order to film the daily lives, loves and conundrums of a tiny forgotten community that re-defines what it means to be European. Otto stumbled across his subject hiking in the hills. He was nearly knocked off his feet by a pimped up super car roaring into the village square. “Who would own a car like that in a place like this where donkeys out number cars three to one?” he thought. He decided to hang around to find out.
In the process he got to know his key character, 16 year old Nihad, who is taught to speak Albanian at school, Croatian at home, Arabic at the mosque and the language of football and fast cars with his mates in the cafe. There they dream their dreams whilst a very faded picture of President Tito gazes down. Other fading onlookers include the village’s last 8 Orthodox Christian Serbs. 7 of them are over 70. As the weeds grown found the the once grand Orthodox cemetery Nihad plans his future in a new kind of Europe.
Otto met The Whickers at this year’s IDFAcadamy, where we have been helping out in return for a massive bar of very special IDFA-branded milk chocolate. We’re very pleased with this deal as we’re getting to meet so many inspired documentarians….
– Jane Ray, Artistic Director