Nazif, a husband and father of two young daughters, barely makes enough money to support his family as an iron picker. His day consists of searching for scrap metal while his wife, Senada, who is pregnant with their third daughter, slaves away at home. One night Nazif arrives home to find Senada bedridden due to pain. They drive to the nearest clinic where they learn she has suffered a miscarriage, with Senada still carrying the fetus of a five-month old inside her. Seneda's condition is critical but due to the families lack of insurance they are turned away from the hospital unless they can pay the 980 Bosnian marks required. Danis Tanovic's An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker is a slow burning portrait of the harshness of contemporary society. The film doesn't hit you over the head with its message, rather it simply relays a personal portrait that captures the struggle of those living in poverty, who simply don't have the financial means to function in a money-driven world. This is the first film of Danis Tanovic I've seen, but his style somewhat reminded me of the Dardeenes, being minimalistic to the point that the film feels more like a documentary than a piece of narrative filmmaking. Tanovic seems to be a filmmaker with a very acute sense to his surrounings, routinely focusing on the setting around his characters. Tanovic captures the poverty-stricken world which these characters inhabit through desolate landscapes filled of scrap metal and the chill of winter. Danis Tanovic's An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker is a fascinationg look at life in a rarely seen part of the world which captures the struggle of those in poverty in a way that rings true even in first world countries.
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