10 Minutes (2002)
Ten Minutes by Ahmed Imamovic is a short film about the 1994 conflict in Sarajevo and just how significant ten minutes in a lifetime can be. Can you guess how long the running time is?
The film opens with a Japanese tourist in Rome, snapping pictures on his way to a 10-minute photo developer as quaint, jovial Italian music drowns out the sounds of fellow tourists and Europeans doing their daily activities. In a stark contrast, the film continues by showing us a Bosnian family in the next scene, in a dispute over their young son going to fetch water. In a scene that begs the question, “Is this the same Europe?” as the Italian scene that came before it, we follow the boy (sans cuts) through the war-torn streets of his neighborhood. He stops to kick a ball back to a neighborhood kid and pals around with soldiers in the trenches on his way to acquire the essential bread and water. The mise-en-scene is striking, with abandoned cars and small fires dotting the landscape, an overall look of dark, grey destruction. The idea of a child going to get water down the street and passing soldiers and snipers along the way is not what the average viewer calls to mind when they think of Europe.
The end of the film sees the boy headed back home as the battle starts up again, running as bullets fly and people scream. A neighbor we saw before, with no significance to his presence then, attempts to hold him back as he tries to get back into his now-destroyed home. He gets back into his home to find his family shot and killed, but that isn’t the scene the filmmakers chose to leave us with. The last scene finds us back in Italy with the tourist as he picks up his photographs and returns to his day’s plans of sightseeing, the ideas of war and death and destruction far from his mind. His ten minutes seem insignificant with what we know of the Bosnian boy’s simultaneous ten minutes. It serves to make the audience wonder, what’s going on in the world in the ten minutes it took watch the film? Or in the (less than) ten minutes it might have took you to read this blog?
Food for thought.