Faruk (Pavle Cemerikic) does what he can to make ends meet, but he knows that sooner or later he’s going to have to take desperate measures to get what he wants. He’s promised a large sum if he carries out a delivery of something he’s unsure about and after a while he agrees, although he knows that it’s wrong.
Then after the deal, he runs into Mona (Sumeja Dardagan), a rich girl whose parents have political, albeit corrupt, power. However, Faruk doesn’t know this at first and uses his cheeky charm in order to secure a date from Mona, even if he doesn’t really think she’ll call. Although Faruk is pleasantly surprised when Mona calls him and soon a romance starts to blossom.
The White Fortress is a romantic drama from Bosnia which was the Bosnian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the Oscars. Put in a familiar framing of a Shakespeare classic, audiences are all too familiar with the story of The White Fortress.
However, it’s modern and socio-political issues that surround the film make it feel fresh and relevant all over again as it explores a side of Bosnia that’s not often seen on screen.
Behind all the issues of class which divide Faruk and Mona lie a war that has divided the country like never before. The financial and social wall that has been built between Mona and Faruk tell the audience all they need to know and although they wish for better, it is still heart breaking to know how it will end.
Cemerikic and Dardagan make for a charming couple in love and the moments of quiet between them show the audience how real their connection is and despite everything how they wish for them to succeed. Unfortunately, as often is the case with these kinds of divides around the world, they have to relish the few moments they have together before they’re gone.
The White Fortress is a sweet and often tender film which uses beautiful imagery to frame not only the star-crossed lovers, but also the city of Sarajevo. It may be a story that audiences have seen many times before, but it thankfully brings new life to an old tale.
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