In the Balkans, bridges have always played a special role.
They not only cross river valleys and gorges, but in times of peace they also connect people of different cultures and denominations. During the recurring bloody years in the Balkans, it was always the bridges that were destroyed and whose stumps remained in the landscape as memorials of trauma. One thing is certain: in good times and bad, bridges have found their way into songs and legends, and they still shape the personal memories and experiences of many people today.
Now we live in a time marked by the disappearance of both internal and external bridges. Given modern road layouts, bridges can hardly be experienced as architectural structures anymore - they have been flattened, they are not supposed to impede the flow of traffic, and so we speed over them without even noticing them. But our interpersonal bridges are also subject to tests of endurance. On an international level, we are in a new age of divide between the East and West, chasms gape between the rich and poor, which are countered by ever higher and more brutal border and wall constructions. On a national level, there is increasing talk of an internal division of society and the still-ongoing pandemic has caused many a fine bridge between friends and loved ones to collapse.
We now want to travel to the Balkans with this film project (documentary/ essay, 75+ minutes). There we want to rediscover the bridges in their beauty, their necessity, but also in their fragility. At the same time, the film should remain permeable to bridges between the past, the present and the future, as well as between architecture, personal experience and poetry.
Through our gaze as travellers, as strangers, an arc will be drawn back from the Balkans to Western society. Perhaps this can impulse the revival of some of our ruined bridges.