TIFF ’22: The Happiest Man in the World

Based off true events,?The Happiest Man in the World?starts off from the perspective of Asja (Jelena Kordic Kuret), a wearied woman in her 40s who works in law. Still looking for love, she decides to join a blind dating event in her hometown of Sarajevo to try to spark romance. It is here that she meets the very shy (and, for some reason, unhinged) Zoran (Adnan Omerovic).

Set during the time when Sarajevo was under siege by Serbian forces between 1993 ? 1996, Happiest Man shows the brutality of a war that killed and injured many civilians yet treat the events as though they never happened. As the story progresses with light hearted questions due to the games in the dating event, it?s revealed that Zoran is a soldier who had injured Asja years ago, reigniting the trauma of a trauma that killed so many of her people. 

Through Zoran?s eyes, the film lets us experience what it?s like to see the aftermath of war, while also revealing that it still rages on after 25+ years. Of course, the title The Happiest Man in the World is very ironic, as he is in fact the exact opposite. Having enlisted as a young man, Zoran was taught the propaganda of his home country and convinced to fight a war that he never wanted to be involved with. This leaves him with incredible trauma as he attempts to reconcile the tragedy of war with his everyday life. (What?s more, Happiest Man feels even more timely in the midst of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, two sides that were also once united as a people yet are now torn by propaganda and battle lines.) Beautiful and moving, The Happiest Man in the World shows the scars of war and the challenges of healing in the midst of conflict.

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