Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Patria Mia

I recently watched a fascinating documentary, Patria Mia, produced by the same production house I mentioned in my previous post, pro.ba. The filmmaker follows the story of several Chinese immigrants-- a shopowner, an accupuncturist and most closely follows the life of a girl who sings turbo folk, a kind of very cheesy Serbian/Balkan music with inane lyrics about "love" and same-sounding, bland tunes-- actually, very reminiscient of much of mainland Chinese pop music in in those ways! The filmmaker uses the experience of these immigrants as a contrast with her experience, and the experience of many others in the Balkans, as refugees in other parts of Europe, and of course it was striking to me as a foreigner living here. The immigrants asserted that language learning was the most difficult aspect of their integration into Bosnian society and even the girl singer, who spoke Serbian very well, had to practice to properly pronounce the lyrics she was singing, especially the Rs. That was a bit sad to me as well, because I could see that for Balkan viewers some of the humor of the film is related to the mispronunciation of Bosnian words by these immigrants and the strange sound of their language. As a senior in college I spent a week in Athens studying the immigrant experience of Chinese people there and watching the film found many of the same issues...

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