The 35mm footage in Kenedi Goes Back Home harkens back to a different time, but the refugee theme in this 2003 film is universal. It’s also a logical topic to tackle for filmmaker Želimir Žilnik, who has always concerned himself with the fate of socially marginalized people.
Žilnik introduces viewers to Kenedi Hasani, a young Serbian Roma man who has just returned to Belgrade after living for years in Germany. Kenedi was dragged from his bed by the German police and deported to Serbia—as happened to many former Yugoslavs when peace appeared to have returned to the Balkans.
The pragmatic Kenedi tries to make a living with a hastily purchased car. The film thus develops into a road movie in which the deported Roma riding in Kenedi’s taxi talk about how they have been flung back into an existence of old uncertainties. Their children, often born and raised in the modernity of Germany, have been displaced in their parents’ country, with a poor command of Serbo-Croatian, and must drastically adjust their expectations for the future.