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Spend 'Days and Hours' With an Official Oscar Selection

By Jennifer DeFilippo

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Fuke sits with his Aunt and Uncle.

Every character is so eccentric and exciting in the film Days and Hours that no actor was short changed by the part they were given. Director Pjer Zalica beautifully embodied the culture of a small Bosnia community. The aerial views of the city are so gorgeous it would make anyone add it to their list of places to visit. The neighborhood built into a hilly country side is where the main character Fuke (Senad Basic), a love stricken man goes to fix his elderly Aunt and Uncles' water boiler. The audience is immediately hit with the relationship between Uncle Idriz (Mustafa Nadarevic) and Aunt Sabira (Semka Sokolovic). The couple is so familiar; their loving banter is almost as hilarious as their selective hearing and sneaky behaviors that never go unnoticed by either party. These characters are so fleshed out that everyone can identify them with someone they know in their life.

The director encapsulates the near poverty brought upon by the community due to the Bosnian conflict. At home cleaning supplies, food, and other items are imported from areas where their quality is so low that it can make living uncomfortable. But despite these set backs, the strong will of these individuals makes those discomforts seem like dust that can easily be swept from one's shoulder.

Director Pjer Zalica autographs a self portrait.

Aunt Sabira is so endearing again because of her immediate familiarity. She is an older woman, obsessive compulsive in her pristinely clean home that is never quite clean enough, and always has cake and food ready "just in case."  What the audience comes to know about this older couple is that they are stricken with the loss of their son from the Bosnian conflict. They are so heartbroken that they have become resentful from those closest to them including their son's family. This resentment even taxed their relationship with their ten year old granddaughter that they love so much.

"Seven years, seven minutes," Uncle Idriz expresses in surrender to the passage of time. It's a truth that all human beings face. Simply, where does the time go? In Days and Hours the rest of the time goes to the hilarious encounters between all of the neighbors.

Fuke's ill knowledge of his dying Volkswagon was a catalyst to bringing the neighborhood together. The hilarity of the slap stick occurrences that surrounded his car brought out the likes of the most eccentric characters in the film. We are introduced to the innocent, loving, and walked all over husband. The track suit wearing, exercising, yet still overweight young man that still lives with his mother. Then we meet the nosey and always aware of the latest information, food bearing woman.  Last, the wife dying to look and feel like she's outside of her social class so much so that she takes it out on her teddy bear husband. The film is one hilarious scenario after another that shows the spirit of this country and their undying love for one another.

The love stricken Fuke makes a phone call home.

Being an American member of the audience surrounded by natives of the director's country, I found myself envious of their higher understanding of the film than my own. Their deep belly laughs always seemed a little bit deeper than mine. Pjer Zalica did such a wonderful job of portraying this country and its people it made me wish that I could be a part of that country too. Pjar taught us that in the end it is the here and the now that truly matters and love and compassion is always triumphant.

 

Published on Dec 31, 1969

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