Three years ago, the HFA presented Balkan Rhapsodies, the first feature documentary by Jeff Daniel Silva, who visited the former Yugoslavia in 1999, just after the NATO bombing campaign. Viewers who have seen Balkan Rhapsodies may remember Ivan as the charismatic young Serb who plays a particularly melancholy blues on his guitar near the end of that film. In Ivan and Ivana, Silva catches up with his friend, now married to his sweetheart Ivana and seemingly living the good life in Southern California. The story of what happens to Ivan and Ivana is a perfect illustration of the state of the American dream in the years just before and after the beginning of the Great Recession, and to his credit, Silva doesn’t shy away from letting his characters take on a larger-than-life aspect. However, the film also remains a first-person, intimate look at the bonds between three people and the way those bonds can shift over a decade. And never far in the background is the trauma of the war in Kosovo.
Directed by Jeff Daniel Silva. US 2011, digital video, color, 80 min. English and Serbian with English subtitles