Centered on the Srebrenica massacre, the visual exploration goes through the now ghost town, whereas the sound brings it to life as a way of stating what it sounded like before the massacre. Despite the very specific circumstance and idea behind the film, rarely would there be a viewer unfamiliar with the feeling of sudden terror as exhibited here. During my first viewing, I was unaware of the background of the setting, yet felt immensely unsettled by the closing scenes. The ambiguous, poetical, and cyclical nature of the film is the main provocation of one’s imagination.
What strikes me most is the absence of actors in sight. With a picturesque beginning, growing increasingly off-putting as more of the village is shown, one would agree that the inclusion of any visually present actors would have been intrusive. The film does not rely on dialogue for story development. Despite the setting being the now deserted village of Srebrenica, there is so much vigor in each frame, relying on the viewer’s imagination. The unequivocal juxtaposition of presence and absence of life warrants respect. The image is the canvas, the sound – paint, and the viewer paints whatever painting he imagines onscreen, as I find Hodzic’s short film to be a more interactive experience than many others.
Mustafa Mustafic, the director of photography, was delighted with the idea of a film with such a dependence on the visuals, calling Blossom a “real art film”. The sheer practicality of having the film shoot separate from the sound recording, then imposed onto one another reveals a new aspect present in the motion picture. The artificially created synchronization of sound and image is reminiscent of stereophonic music.
In less than a reel’s worth of film in length, Hodzic establishes, imaginarily populates and then levels the small village of Srebrenica in rural Bosnia to the ground, armed with nothing but intricate sound design and a couple dozen moving shots. It is indeed peculiar that there is no still shot in the film, rather the camera follows the point where the sound ought to originate, fading into other shots as the many former inhabitants’ stories progress. One can feel the flow of the village up until the pan to the sky followed by the crickets’ chirp as the calm before the storm moment stops the freedom felt throughout. The shots now erratically cut into each other, the sound of ground and walls shaking, of dust and rocks falling rush the viewer, as the town is aurally raided by a plethora of bombs.
It then eases off into slow surf across the graveyard, spending just enough time on the sea of tombstone pillars to show the eight thousand souls’ resting places. The film ends where it began, with the narrator father repeating his opening remarks about the village. The son, however, remains silent in the end. There is one less voice in the world.
There is a point in saying the film holds a childlike innocence in its storytelling. The opening dialogue is simple, curious and gleaming with warmth – befitting a child’s character. From the get go, one is skeptical about the nature of the film, being deceived with diegetic sound, but no viewable sound source. This is a solid example of sound being a large driving force behind the film’s narrative ark. In fact, the sound is not merely an addition to the visual component, but an invaluable element without which the narrative would be dangerously incomplete.