Jan Baumgartner, CH, 2022, 61'
WORLD Premiere
Sun. 7.8.2022, 11h00, La Sala
Mon. 8.8.2022, 9h00, Palacinema 1

en / it / de / fr

For her the war has not yet ended, merely become silent, but just as bad. This is what a mother says. She could never bury her fallen sons after the Balkan war because they are among the many tens of thousands still missing people buried in mass graves somewhere. A group of young forensics and scientists are still searching for mass graves, analysing satellite images, investigating hints to find bones, clothes, and objects. Hints such as those of an elderly man who voluntarily searches for the remnants of the dead in the woods. He has lost family members in the war and knows the importance of burying the remains of family members to come to terms with their death.

The Swiss filmmaker Jan Baumgartner, who documented the work of minesweepers in Bosnia and Herzegovina with his short film “Talking Soil” (2018), follows a forensic team and observes how, silently and patiently, they dig the earth, sort bones, and slowly reassemble skeletons from a pile of bones. “We don't just find bones,” says the woman forensic in the film, “we find life stories; we discover lives that were once lived.” And thus, by means of objects retrieved and DNA analyses of anonymous bone piles, people become real again. Still dead, but with mothers, fathers, and siblings who can now finally say goodbye. “The DNA of Dignity” is a quiet film with carefully composed images that, fortunately, avoids all drama and great emotion. It appropriately and gracefully shows how a group of experts slowly but persistently reinstates dignity to the lost victims of the war.

Brigitte Häring