Painting from a scene in the film Gzim Rewind (Ink on paper, 2012)

Gzim Rewind


Film, 58 min

Text by Kim Christiansen/DR Sales


Tracing a youn boy´s path, form his teen years in post-war Kosovo, back to his childhood at a Swedish refugee camp.


When director Knutte Wester first meet refugee boy Gzim Dervishi, the child Gzim had spent his childhood at different refugee camps across Europe, escaping the ethnic cleansing at the burning Balkan. In bright contrast to this, Gzim stood out as an extraordinary shining and positive child. But in his eyes there were a darkness with an unbearable gravity, stains of black ink left from seeing a massacre.


During Westers last year at the academy of fine arts he moved his studio to a refugee camp in the north of Sweden. Refugee boy Gzim came to the same refugee camp with his family, escaping a deportation from Norway. They meet when Gzim arrives with a bus to the refugee camp; Gzim borrows Westers camera to film his own arrival to the new country. Since then director Knutte Wester has filmed his friend Gzim on and off for eight years, half his life.


After being a refugee across Europe Gzim and his family was sent back to their fatherland, a land of which Gzim had no memories except for the massacre. The same instinct of survival that had made him learn several European languages then made him forget, or reject, those languages again, much like those counties had rejected him.


The film begins recently in the remote countryside of post-war Balkan. Gzim is a tough teenager in a leather jacket who only speaks Albanian. As time rewinds Gzim transforms into an eleven year old boy in a bomb razed Kosovo, a boy who visits the demolished mosque and tries to find out who he is in this new country. He speaks a confused mix of the languages of his childhood; German, Norwegian, English and Swedish.


Again time rewinds a few years, back to when Gzim lived hidden in a church in Norway. From there Gzim and his family flee to Sweden were Gzim switches his Norwegian for Swedish and dreams of a bright future.


After this last transformation into an almost Scandinavian boy the film reaches the breaking point; the day when Gzim comes to his friend Knutte Wester to tell him that he has been expelled from Sweden. In front of our eyes something within Gzim is ripped apart.