“He wouldn’t brag about it if he didn’t want me.”
Excursion is the International Feature submission from Bosnia. Director Una Gunjak latest film is about a young girl named Iman, who’s in the eighth grade. Along with her best friend, Hana, the two of them spend most of their time alone. Seeking acceptance from her classmates, during a game of “truth or dare,” Iman lies to her peers that she’s had sex with an older boy named Damir.
All the girls in her class are intrigued by this revelation and Iman begins to be a part of their group, a part of their world. They want to know how it all happened, how it felt, how it’s like to have a boyfriend. However, when Damir ignores Iman during a party in front of all her newfound friends, in order to keep up with the rumours, she fakes being sick at school, citing that she’s pregnant. And the consequences and the culmination of all the lies explode into unimaginable consequences.
Iman is a young woman trying desperately to find her identity. In her world, and in the world of teenagers, the way they see themselves is going to be shaped in part by how others see them. While her other classmates seem to have a more solid understanding of who they are as people, Iman is at a loss. She fabricates a story in the hopes of winning their respect. She thinks that announcing to everyone that she’s had sex will make her cool, that it’ll make her seem more important.
But one of the more concerning experiences during adolescence is the tendency for rumours to spread, quickly. A lie, which may feel small at first, can spread rapidly amongst ones peers. And once a rumour starts spreading, the widespread effect that it can cause is insurmountable. These effects can fester and derail a young person’s entire life to the point where they lose whatever self worth and whatever self confidence they had to begin with.
They were doubting it and I wanted to protect our story. Una Gunjak's tearjerker of a film is a confident and important reminder about the fragility of every single individual.