Summer in the Golden Valley
Always dreaming of life elsewhere, two young guys hustle, hang out, get stoned and then get caught up with criminal types, a beautiful rich girl and a blackmail scam. A fresh and authentic début.
With its inspired opening and closing sequences, Summer in the Golden Valley brilliantly sets up the idea of its young characters' seemingly hopeless dreams of a rich and happy land elsewhere while being trapped in a no-win, no future Sarajevo. The film's protagonists are two young, glue-sniffing kids who loaf around doing nothing and dreaming of having sex, like all adolescents. But Fikret's sick father dies and a man appears at the funeral announcing a large, previously unheard of debt. Honour demands it should be paid before father can rest in peace. His seemingly ineffective and Walter Mittyish son is forced into dubious company and very dubious actions to raise the cash. Out of their depth, with a corrupt cop pulling the strings, they plan a scam to kidnap a rich man's daughter, but our anti-hero falls for his captive.With its bitterly ironic title, this film is, ironically, a cause for optimism, since it is one sign of a spring that could become more golden as a resurgence of film-making becomes evident in the Balkans. For its theme and for its authenticity, Summer in the Golden Valley like many films from the region draws on a past and present time of crisis, and a feeling for a society struggling to find its way out of collapse. Persuasive performances from its young leads and a strong sense of atmosphere help convey a deep sense of uncertainty for a new generation about what might lie ahead. [S.F.]