May Labour Day

May Labour Day

Directed by Pjer Žalica

  • Bosnia & Herzegovina 2018;
    • Arte International Relations Cinelink Award - Cinelink

  • FUSE previous work of director Pjer Žalica, available for screening on Festival Scope


After ten years in Germany, Armin returns to Bosnia. He’s just married and wants to surprise his father Fudo. But Fudo is not home. Armin finds out from the neighbours that Fudo has been arrested, nobody knows why. The papers say that Fudo is a suspect for the war crime back in the 90s. The neighbourhood is uneasy: is it possible that Fudo is guilty? Armin asks inspector Gagula for help who arranges for the father and son to meet but it does not happen because of a banal car incident. In meantime, Fudo has hung himself. Suicide sparks the flames of discord in the Neighbourhood. An innocent does not commit suicide. Armin must know what happened. Gagula helps him. They find the crime scene in the mountain above the city. From witnesses they realize that Fudo was caught up in the event. After the sniper shot a child, people reacted. In the chaos they killed the sniper and his whole family. The rifle was never found. This bothers Armin. He tries to find it with Gagula. Neighbourhood gets drunk arguing about Fudo’s conviction which escalates to a fist-fight. Instead of a rifle, Armin finds a bottle of rakia traditionally buried in the ground when a son is born, intended to be opened at the night of his wedding which he never got to live. Armin goes back to Germany taking with him a bottle of rakia he found; a reminder on the consequences of hate and war.

Director's Statement

War ended over 23 years ago, but life still seeps away from my country. The circumstances are bad, perspectives so ugly that I find myself wondering why anyone is expecting anything from life here. And yet, in these debris of life, we still find joy. Because no matter how difficult life is, we still love to live. This is a miracle in whose name I want to tell this story. After years in Germany, a young man returns to Bosnia. What awaits him there is pure horror, but also a passionate feeling of ‘home’ to which he belongs. Tragedy of those who live with that feeling in diaspora and us who live here and suffer the injustices of life in Bosnia is equal. We are unhappy brothers who deserve happiness but do little to achieve it. Through strong characters and the intense emotional dynamic, I’ll try to unify the stern stiffness of drama and freedom and friskiness of comedy. Serious problems will be approached with slight impertinence of comedy while being careful not to make a mockery out of it.



    Aida Huseinovic