Der (vor)letzte Panda oder Die Statik ((Pen)ultimate Panda or Static)
Ana wants to be an author, Luka fantasises about living in a loft (secretly he imagines the man of his dreams there with him), Marin has yet to choose between the mafia and business administration studies, and Marija knows she will never be as pretty as Ana (and puts on even more makeup). What unites them is the same preschool, the same school, the first love, the first booze-up followed by the first hangover. All four of them were born in 1990 in Sisak, a small city in Croatia. Their childhood was shaped by war – a war that turned neighbours into enemies from one day to the next and tore families apart. Croat or Serb? A question that suddenly made the difference between life and death, drew new boundaries and created enemy stereotypes that endured long after the war had ended.
But even war becomes part of everyday life. And an almost “normal” childhood is possible in the presence of air-raid shelters and post-war chaos, traumatisation and violence. The games the children play have unusual names though: “Let’s play prosperity, let’s play Europe.” But dolls donated by Swedish children are still dolls, and second-hand toy cars are still toy cars. Ana, Marija, Luka and Marin have all the experiences typical for children and young adults: They skip school and work towards a future that resembles their dreams as much as possible. The journey through their lives ends with their 10-year class reunion. This occasion turns into an inventory of successes and failures. The successes are the result of an individual effort; the failures, not only: “People may be able to change, but society hardly ever does.”
In (Pen)ultimate Panda or Static, Dino Pešut, born in Sisak in 1990, points far beyond his country’s recent history. He paints the picture of a young generation whose experience of stagnation and new beginnings everyone can relate to.
Photo: Stefanie Moshammer