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As Far as I Can Walk is a 2021 internationally co-produced drama directed by Serbian Oscar-nominated director (for his 2003 short film '(A)Torsion') Stefan Arsenijevic that follows a couple who left Ghana with a dream of a better life in Europe and now live as refugees in Belgrade.
22-year-old Siisi, nicknamed Strahinja, is doing everything to integrate in Serbia. He volunteers for the Red Cross in the camp where he lives, looks for work, plays on the local football team... His biggest challenge, however, is to win back the woman he loves. When she disappears one day, Strahinja sets out to find her.
As Far as I Can Walk is a re-imagining of a traditional medieval epic in which contemporary African migrants take the place of Serbian national heroes. Urgent and timeless at the same time, the adaptation raises questions about identity, tradition, race and love.
It premiered at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2021 where it won five prizes including the main Grand Prix – Crystal Globe and the Best Actor honor awarded to Ibrahim Koma for his starring performance in the film.
By Strahinja Banović / Serbia / France / Luxembourg / Bulgaria / Lithuania / 2021 / 92 min / English and Serbian with English Sub.
“It’s a surprising and exhilarating blend of contemporary refugee story, love triangle and medieval Serbian poem.” ~ Alisa Simon, Variety
“In his masterfully directed picture Stefan Arsenijević delivers a crystal clear, humanistic account of the need to find one’s place in the world; this is also a tale of love, the most profound testimony of which might also be the most painful.” ~ Lenka Tyrpáková, Karlovy Vary FF
“Arsenijević's film is vividly crafted and performed. The predominantly English-language film should gather interest [ ] on the strength of its topicality and emotional accessibility.” ~ Guy Lodge, Variety
“The refugees are presented as broken and poor, but dignified, and as opposed to many other similarly themed films, we get real, flesh-and-blood characters in Strahinja and Ababuo, with well-defined personalities, pasts and hopes for the future. And therein lies the film's greatest strength: both actors are positively magnetic on the screen, but especially Koma, whose drive and extraordinary charisma often collide with Mensah-Offei's pride and headstrong ambition.” ~ Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa
“One of Arsenijevic’s avowed goals with As Far as I Can Walk was to portray refugees as distinct individuals with inner lives, dreams and aspirations, not just blank statistics. In this he is admirably successful.” ~ Stephen Dalton, Verdict
ABOUT THE MAKING OF THE FILM
“Arsenijević’s hometown Belgrade marks an important point on the Balkan migrant route. A few years ago, he could see thousands of new refugees arriving every day. He says, “Having my own experience of war and poverty in the 90s, I could easily identify. I started talking with migrants, hearing their experiences. There was this moving story of epic proportions happening right in front of me. It was just important to find the right angle to tell it.” As the migrant crisis grew, many locals promulgated paranoid fears that migrants would take over European culture by imposing their own. “National identity and national heritage are touchy subjects in my country,” says Arsenijević. “So, it occurred to me: what if I replace Serbian national heroes with contemporary African migrants? I thought this could provide some interesting perspectives.” ~ Alisa Simon, Variety