Home, Dom, Slovenian Documentary

Home, Dom, Slovenian Documentary

by Sherif Awad
One of the new films emerging from Slovenia this year is the new documentary Dom (Home) by Slovenian director Metod Pevec who went to portray the lives of some nineteen different young and old people living under the same roof in a dormitory at Moste, a working-class suburb of the capital Ljubljana. The street where the dorm lies is bearing the name of Vida Pregarc, a Slovenian young woman from Trieste who was shot dead by fascists at the age of 22 in August 1942.
Right now, each inhabitant of the dorm has a reason why he or she moved there. For ex-workers, it was was the result of the privatization process that this five-story building with three entrances became their home after being originally built as a temporary resident for construction workers coming from Bosnia. Upstairs, these lonely men who are in their middle-age now came as young lads only to spend 30 years working on various construction sites across Slovenia. When the construction companies they worked for went bankrupt, they lost everything while their bankrupt employers owed them a lot of money. On the first floor lives a group of adolescent girls who came from disturbed families and who preferred the welfare youth dorm in order to continue their high schools studies. Some other tenants found refuge there in this cheapest accommodation facility, because they had been evicted from their former apartments. The house is large, but for most of its residents, the accommodation here means that they have just a bed and not much else. Nobody calls it a home; they all thought it would be just a temporary solution, but sometimes this temporariness is endless. The windows are without curtains with bare walls and ceiling lamps with one light bulb without a shade that can be seen when looking to the building from the outside. The faces of the residents that appears in the window, tired, wrinkled, and absorbed in thoughts are captivated by the director and his director of photography with beautiful yet heartbreaking frames.
Through the different interviewees we meet some of the students and some of the out-of-work men who describes their past and present. At first glance, it seems that immigrant workers and delicate problematic adolescents do not belong under the same roof, but it is obvious that a workers' suburb is a suitable place for the disposal of social problems. Probably a silent social or political agreement has already been reached that social issues should be kept away from elite residential areas. One of the residents is a middle age woman who is smart to notice that the Slovenian TV does not broadcast Slovenian films because they do not want the audience to relive the social problems on broadcast. I got to share with her the same thoughts because the best America and European films I watched on Satellite were on the these two channels we receive in Egypt on the Hotbird European satellite.

Before I accidentally met Metod Pevec in Pula Festival 2012 (Croatia) where we both served in two different juries, I discovered his early features and documentaries including a documentary called Alexandrians about the emigrating young Slovenian women who moved to Egypt during the early 20th century. After I published an article about the film, I was contacted by a woman living in Denmark who has read the article and pointed it out that one of the old photos published along with the article featured her mother. It was great to see how can cinema nostalgically touches people so far away and so close.