A Ballad is the newest film from acclaimed director Aida Begic. Her latest film is A Ballad, the new International Feature submission for Bosnia. The film is about Meri, who is 30 years old and who’s just moved back in with her mother and her brother. Her marriage with Hasan just ended badly and she had to move out quickly, even leaving behind her daughter Mila. There are glimpses of their past relationship, which shows them during their happier moments, but also brief scenes where the marriage started to go wrong.
Meri hires a lawyer to try to get her daughter back. The lawyer finds out that they were never married legally, which might make things harder for her. And to make things worse, she finds out that because she left her daughter in her father’s house it could now take several months before she can maybe get a trial, let alone custody.
This is the start of a long battle between the father and the mother. Hasan changes the lock to the house, so Meri can’t come in. He ignores her phone calls. He even alleges potentially damaging accusations about cheating rumours and more. Aida Begic has created a film that addresses an abusive relationship in a slow precise manner. The score is hauntingly sad. Meri at one point states that “He did not believe in me. He just laughed at my dreams, so that little by little I ceased to believe in them too.” A ballad is a slow sentimental song. Meri’s ballad is one that didn’t go the way she wanted it to go. But sometimes that’s the price someone has to pay to regain their freedom and to start anew.