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Hand on the Shoulder

Breda Beban
1997
43 mins Colour Sound 16mm film

Hand on the Shoulder

Hand on the Shoulder represents a sum up of Beban & Horvatic's attitude towards personal psychological fall-out within the context of History as well as their approach to cinematic language.

Commissioned by British television (Channel 4), the film is the filmmakers' most direct engagement with the subject of war in former-Yugoslavia and the issues of exile and displacement.

Hand on the Shoulder gathers within itself many of the features that distinguish Beban & Horvatic's previous work, particularly in the use of objects, lighting-camera techniques and concerns with literary archetypes. This time, however, these elements are deployed in order to confront genre, narrative and character.

Although the film was a very personal project for Hrvoje Horvatic (it is dedicated to his father Ivan), with all the attendant sense of painful retrospection and regret that exile offers, there is also the sense of a major step forward.

Unfortunately, the completion of the film and its immediate broadcast on Channel Four was shortly followed by Horvatic's tragic and sudden death in London.

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