Experiencing Interruptions?

The Son

Arman (18) was adopted as a baby. Soon after, the family got a biological son. As Arman is constantly fighting the demons of his past, at the same time he tries to protect his younger brother Dado (14) from all the challenges of today's Sarajevo - drugs, weapons, going to the Middle East war. This drama follows a family that is broken by internal tensions while fighting to survive in Bosnia.

  • Ines Tanovic
    Our Everyday Life, Some other Stories, A day on the Drina
  • Ines Tanovic
    Our Everyday Life, Some other Stories, A day on the Drina
  • Alem Babic
    Our Everyday Life, Some other stories, A day on the Drina
  • Dino Bajrovic
    Key Cast
    Majkino zlato
  • Snežana Bogdanovic
    Key Cast
    Stiches, Kuduz
  • Uliks Fehmiu
    Key Cast
    Our everyday life, White, white world, Redemption street
  • Emir Hadzihafizbegovi
    Key Cast
    Our everyday life, These are the Rules
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 46 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    800 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Country of Filming:
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Sarajevo Film Festival
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    August 16, 2019
    World Premiere
Distribution Information
  • Alem Babic
    Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Ines Tanovic

Born in Sarajevo. Director, writer and producer. Founder of the production company Dokument Sarajevo in 1990. Graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo, department of dramaturgy. Currently president of the Association of Film Workers of BiH.
She directed and wrote a script for 6 short feature films in the period from 1986 to 2010, as well as many TV shows, children's programs, documentaries, spots, advertising campaigns ...
In 2004, she was given a Hubert Ball Fund reward for the script ENTANGLEMENT.
She was at Berlinale Talent Campus 2006. and her project Decision was selected in Berlin Today Award 2011.
Directed the Bosnian part of the long feature omnibus SOME OTHER STORIES in 2010 (co-production btw. production companies from B&H, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia and Ireland, supported by EUROIMAGES). The Film has been invited on more than 40 world festivals and won six international prizes.
For the project OUR EVERY DAY LIFE which was a part of CineLink market at the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2010, she was rewarded with INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ARTE PRIZE.
Author of the documentaries EXHIBITION 26’ (2010) - Short Film Corner in Cannes Film Festival, LIVING MONUMENT, 26’ (2012), COAL MINE, 30’ (2012), GETO 59 (2013) and A DAY ON THE DRINA 17’ (2011) which was rewarded with Big Stamp for Best Film in Regional Competition Program at ZAGREBDOX International Documentary Film Festival 2012.
At CineLink program SFF – Work In Progress 2014. She was awarded with postproduction award for OUR EVERYDAY LIFE.
In 2015. she finished realization of the feature film OUR EVERYDAY LIFE which was supported by Sarajevo Film Fund (BiH), Slovenian and Croatian Film Fund and Eurimages. The film was invited to over 40 international film festivals and won 15 awards. The film was a Bosnian candidate for an Oscar for 2015.
In 2019. she finished her new feature film THE SON, which received production funds from the BiH Film Fund, Film Center Montenegro, Croatian Audiovisual Center, Slovenian Film Center, CNC Romania, Eurimages and HBO. This project was also supported by the Media Development Fund (2017), as well as the CINELINK SFF Award 2015. The film had its world premiere at the 25th Sarajevo Film Festival (August 2019) in the competition program and was also the film of the opening of the Festival. THE SON is the 2019 Oscar nominee for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Being the mother of two teenagers, I wanted to make a film inspired by my personal experience of raising children in present-day Sarajevo. As an author, I find it intriguing to tell a story about both raising children and growing up as a child in a family living in a city. What makes me most interested in this family system is the fact that almost all of the family members are working hard – to the best of their knowledge – to make things work and that everyone's intentions are generally good, but it often happens that the results are disappointing. The dynamics in the relationships between parents, between children, and between parents and children is something that makes this story very much a reflection of real life.

This is the story of Arman and his upbringing – a now eighteen-year-old boy adopted as a baby by a family who, after four years from the adoption, welcomed a biological son. It is not easy to walk in shoes of an adopted child – a young person who might not find closure in the struggle to find his own identity, the truth about who he is and who his real parents are, whether he is good enough, and what kind of genes he has inherited.

This story is also about fourteen-year-old Dado, a boy who finds a role model in his older brother Arman. At his age, Dado is fascinated with how Arman is being cheeky with their parents, careless about school, full of adrenaline, and the main bloke in the "gang".

While Arman steadily matures and starts understanding the consequences of his actions, Dado, inconspicuously, turns from a good son into a troubled teenager. Amidst all of this, Mother and Father find the city where they both grew up and the society in which they live and work, to be changed beyond recognition. Neither psychologists, nor social workers are of help, because teenagers growing up in Sarajevo, which is still recovering from the consequences of war twenty years later, is more a matter of global currents, of force majeure, and the city's inner energy.

Arman's intense turmoils, tremendous energy, and excess adrenaline are being followed from one scene to the other throughout the film. Arman is constantly on the move and we are constantly in motion with him. His energy takes us through the film all the way down to the scene where we see that, for all the potential harm to Dado and for all the negative events, the blame could be placed on Arman – despite the fact that through the whole story he has tried to protect Dado and to prove both to himself and his parents that he truly was Dado's big brother.

In the characters of Dado and Arman, and their generation, we see the reflection of the city itself, which is also on a quest for its identity – Sarajevo is also a character of this film. Its neighbourhoods, its failed companies, ruined and destroyed olympic games facilities, war remembrance museum, workers residential blocks of buildings, houses without facades, renewed Academy of Arts and new facilities built, minefields around it all – they are all components and elements that are shaping life in the city as one of the key blocks for building up the protagonists and the characters.

The cast, where I persist with the same actors (Uliks Fehmiu, Emir Hadžihafizbegović, Jasna Ornela Bery, and introducing now Snežana Bogdanović), is my way of creating author continuity and signature in story-telling. In the short film Starting over (a part of the Some Other Stories omnibus) I was telling the story of a young man that was happening immediately after the war; his girlfriend, who is a foreigner to this country, abruptly leaves him and deprives him of their unborn child. This was a story about the international community's relationship with BiH during the war and later on. In my first feature film, Our Everyday Life, I was dealing with the character of a thirty-two-year-old who, after his foreigner wife leaves him, goes back to living with his parents for existential reasons; post-war society gives him no opportunity to work, live on his own and have a better future. It's the experience of my generation and the generation of my friends.

With the new film, The Son, I want to tackle the issue of the third generation, the one born after the war and whose parents were participants in the war and lost their loved ones. That's why Mother and Father from my previous films are now Grandmother and Grandfather, and their son has become the father of Arman and Dado and is dealing with all the problems of raising teenagers in today's Sarajevo.
I set the action of this story in Sarajevo's Mahala , in an old Bosnian house that Senad has inherited from his parents. To him, it is both a reminder of his origins, but also a kind of burden, as it constantly requires new investment. Through several scenes of bicycle riding, I wanted to present life and living in the traditional Sarajevo Mahala, with its idiosyncrasies, in respect to both the lifestyle and the oriental building construction. Through the scene of the Byram/Eid lunch, I want to show the Bosnian tradition of celebrating religious holidays within the family. Making the story about a Muslim family, I wanted to make a distinction in relation to the general point of view on Bosnian Muslims nowadays: Bosnian Muslims have a completely different tradition than those from Turkey or the Middle East. For this reason, to me, as the author, the framework within which the story happens is extremely important – it does not burden, but only provides colour and atmosphere to the story.

In respect to film costumes, those should be the contemporary outfit, in harmony with time that we live in and the colours that we and the director of photography chose.
The Set Designer will have free hand to deploy his creative solutions so as to round the above described visual identity of the film.
As for the music in the film, I decided to choose a composer from this region, as I think that this particular film will need a special sensibility that would make the music, the tones and the sounds contribute to the tension-filled, punch-in-the-stomach atmosphere which has to hold grip on us throughout the whole film. This uncertainty must be kept to the end of the film because we do not know how the story of the two teenagers and their parents will end.
That is why both the soundtrack and the camera movement - sometimes hectic, sometimes calm, depending on Arman's mood – should work in harmony in order to create the special world of this film in colour, albeit somewhat faded – as is the city in which Arman and Dado grow up.

Ines Tanović