The word "Kismet" derives from Arabic origin and etymologically it means fate/destiny.
This is the way Minja Mardjonovic, the author of "Kismet" chose to name her documentary, focused on the lives of 10 women of different backgrounds from Serbia and Albania.
As the title implies, the word kismet in this context represents the lives of all girls and women living in patriarchal countries like Albania and Serbia, where the fate of a girl is perceived as predetermined most of the time.
During my stay in Belgrade for the conference of "Humans of Albania and Serbia", I attended the screening of "Kismet" and its following panel discussion. Afterwards, I was given the chance to interview Minja on the documentary and on her approach to tackling feminism from the angle of two countries.
But first, let‘s get to know Minja!!!
Minja Mardjonovic is a Serbian feminist and online activist writing for several feminist portals. She has majored in Gender studies and believes in the power of technology to hex patriarchy!
If I could rephrase it in an informal way …Minja is an angry feminist who feels socially caged in her everyday life. "Kismet" is one of the outcomes of the anger triggered by patriarchal oppression.
Minja urges for a new redefinition on feminism, and she explains that:
"We need to go out of that elitist, theoretical feminist approach through writing, discussing etc. My main idea in writing online is to bring the positive meaning to the “feminist ” word. In this patriarchal context, in the western Balkans, we have one big problem with understanding the word feminism. In Serbia, and I assume that even in Albania it is the same case, feminism is unfortunately considered a bad word...".
When asked about the "genesis" of her documentary she answers that intersectionality is a very important element nowadays:
“I am the author of the documentary "Kismet", part of the bigger project "Women of Albania and Serbia". We can evaluate the situation of a country by its relationships with the women. My idea was to shoot a documentary about Albanian and Serbian girls. In this region (Balkans) women, especially young women live in a social jail...
..."I think that this film represents the points of our lives, that the other is really not that different than me. We grow up in different cultures, different families, different systems of violence but I think that is our basis. You can see it in the documentary, we have 10 different women from totally different backgrounds 5 Serbian, 5 Albanians The main question of "Kismet" was how we are similar in our differences".
The documentary focuses on the empowerment of some Albanian and Serbian women who chose not to be jailed in their patriarchal societies. They unchained themselves from to be free stereotypes that are being imposed on them. The documentary bounds up a chemist, a farmer, an entrepreneur, a gamer, a Mozilla and Wikipedia contributor etc.
Coming from different backgrounds and different countries, the girls and women of "Kismet" share a mutual concern: fighting for gender equality in their respective countries!
"Kismet" delves into the lives of these girls who grasped into their own hands their "Kismet".