Buddhist meditation teaches us that anger towards someone else is only a reflection of our own failures and fears. As this is true in everyday life, it becomes even more real for those people who have experienced war.
Bosnian director Alen Drljević brings different veterans together for an unusual workshop: “the war ended 20 years ago, but not for you” is the slogan of Ivan the therapist. Men Don’t Cry (Muskarci koji ne placu) takes place in a hotel, otherwise closed for the off-season, in the Bosnian mountains. Here a group of survivors have just begun a new war: their own. They come from different backgrounds: they are Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Christians and Muslims; some of them have physical disabilities, others only psychological wounds. But they are all there because they have been promised a monetary reward for their participation, which for most of them could be very useful as they are facing a very difficult period of their lives (divorces, unemployment and financial problems).
Men Don’t Cry, Drljević’s film debut, won the 2017 Special Jury Prize at the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and it was selected, although not nominated, as the Bosnian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards.
Through amusing team-building activities and trust exercises, Drljević explores the modern male world, made up of machos values, ethnic and religious prejudices and male dominance. Not all of the characters will accept their past. On the contrary, some preconceptions will remain, maybe stronger than before.
Alen Drljević was already known for his work related to the Yugoslav war. His graduation film Paycheck won the EFA/UIP Award at the 11th Sarajevo Film Festival and was nominated for the Best Short Film Award of the European Film Academy. Furthermore, his feature documentary Carnival was screened at one of the most important documentary film festivals, IDFA.