An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Epizoda u životu berača željeza)
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In the snow-covered, desolate landscape of the Bosnian countryside, Nazif barely makes ends meet as an iron picker, scrounging scrap metal all day long to support his pregnant wife Senada and their two children. One day, Senada suddenly takes ill. At the hospital, she is told her unborn baby has died. She requires urgent surgery to avoid sepsis, but she has no health insurance and Nazif cannot afford the cost of the procedure. The hospital staff mercilessly send them back home without treatment. Undeterred, Nazif embarks on a race against time to save Senada’s life.
In his fifth feature film, Tanović goes back to basics to expose a frightening occurrence of insensitive bureaucracy and social injustice in a harsh, clear-eyed manner. He adopts a fly-on-the-wall approach, using natural lighting and no script, and enlisting non-professional actors to re-enact a dark, touching episode from their own real lives. With its raw, stripped-to-the-bone style, ‘An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker’ sits right at the intersection of fiction and documentary.
Winner of both the Jury Grand Prix and the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin International Film Festival, it is a grim and remarkable example of uncompromising and compassionate humanitarian cinema.