The Successor – A Weapon Engineer’s Parabola in Bosnian Minefields

Another film in the Italian focus at the Göteborg Film Festival is The Successor by Mattia Epifani. It’s about reinvention of ones life, as seen from opposite perspectives relating to land mines. The main perspective is that of the weapons engineer, Alfieri Fontana, who inherited the company Tecnovar that made famous (infamous) mines. The documentary focuses on his 180 degree turn regarding what business he was into and the inputs and reflections that got him out of it – to pursue the opposite direction. He even led the demining project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, living in Sarajevo for ten years. Among his coworkers was Nijaz Memic, who had been a mine victim during the war, and we get insights into his experience and reflections as well.

The documentary keeps a good pace between the stories, never grasping for too much and thus doing really well in illustrating the story. We get to see some of the demining work and even former industrial commercials for different sorts of land mines, that can be carped dropped in the thousands. It’s a realistic way of seeing the whole picture, from the manufacturing, promoting, implementation (war), the victims and at last the demining process. All this with the looming inner thought of the man who profited from all this and how step by step he turned away from it all. Aflieri never seemed to ask for redemption, but at least embracing and dealing with the some of the consequences of what his family business caused. As he says himself, people do reinvent their lives form far worse situations than his, but to him this choice was the only way to go about it.

Who is responsible for the suffering that weapons cause? The manufacturer? The armies? Politics? Or anyone who chooses to?


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