Thoughts On: Shok - Treachery


Shok - Treachery

Quick Thoughts: Shok (Friend, 2015)

Made by Jamie Donoughue, this is the Kosovar film of the series.

Shok is a short film from Kosovo, one of Europe's newest countries. Kosovo declared independence and was only partially recognised as a nation, separate from Serbia, in 2008, almost a decade after the outbreak of the Kosovo War. The Kosovo War was one conflict among many during the disintegration of Yugoslavia (a kingdom made up of a cluster of central, eastern and southern European counties). The conflict was over dependence and so saw minority Kosovo Serbians, supported by the Yugoslav government, who wanted Kosovo to remain apart of Yugoslavia, fight against the majority Kosovo Albanians via the Kosovo Liberation Army who wanted Kosovo to be independent of Yugoslavia.

This short film deals with two young Albanian boys in a rural town that has Serbian forces pressing into it. One of the boys sells cigarette papers to the soldiers and his friend rides him to their base on his bike. The treacherous, albeit peaceful, interactions the boys have with the Serbs are limited, however. And so this quickly becomes a film about what it means to have the ground, literally, taken out from under your feet; to be uprooted from a piece of land and made to leave; to be hoodwinked and robbed - as is symbolised by the central object, a bike. In face of this, however, is a thematic arc, in reference to the film's title, about friendship. In such, this is just as much about alienation as it is fraternal bonds and loyalty. And it is exactly this, friendship, that makes the inevitable tragedy so bitter and cold.

Though simple and unambitious in scope, Shok is a poignant story about war. Taking advantage of subtle autumnal colours and expressing the steely feel of on-coming winter, this is well shot both technically and in regards to narrative. Recommended to those interested in European and World Cinema.

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End Of The Week Shorts #74

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