phantomas entangled by aida

SD_Video, 27 min, Sarajevo, Belgrad, Skopje, Pristine, Thessaloniki, 1998/99.

Sabeth Buchmann

phantomas entangled by aida, a film produced in 1999, deals with the subject of re-nationalisation in the states of former Yugoslavia. On the basis of intensive research and careful observation, Elke Marhöfer asks members of various socio-cultural or socio-geographic milieus on their opinion regarding the political situation in ex-Yugoslavia. In the sense of participatory documentary filmmaking, the film inverts the positions of interviewer and interviewee into a reciprocal communicative structure. In taking over the camera direction, the interviewees determine the position of the artist as a specifically situated and involved person. phantomas entangled by aida turns out to be an inherently media-critical reflection on “Western” reporting practices, in which the hegemonic stories and oriental stereotyping of ethnic conflicts in the so-called Balkan states become manifest.

Marhöfer’s film manages to break through the usual generalisations (“the” romani, “the” Albanians, “the” Croatians, “the” Bosnians or “the” Serbs), and, instead, allows the interviewees to appear as political individuals, not differentiated by their origin or affiliation.