Characters in the FENCE are the people that surround us every day. They are set in their real environment where the film captures a moment of their lives, while they are faced with conflicting circumstances, clashes of generations and mentalities. This is a very simple story, yet it reveals many complexities of our society, identifying them through characters way of communication, struggling to filter and convey their experiences and beliefs.
Little GENTI (10) wants a puppy. He expresses his wish at the family gathering, after his Roma* coeval XENI (10) shows at the door, with his stray dog friend AJA. This brings up a fired up discussion among the grown ups. After a quick disapproval, discussion changes its path into a clash of generations, conflict between traditional beliefs and new contemporary way of life. Bold and groundbreaking discussion in a Kosovar upper-mid class family that uncovers mother-daughter, parent-child, man-woman relationship, xenophobia etc. Ignored by grownups and despite his mother’s disapproval, Genti joins Xeni and Aja on the street, continuing to find his new puppy-friend.
Our main characters, Genti and Xeni, coevals of two different social and ethnic backgrounds, with their immaculate sincerity represent the necessity for the change and hope for better tomorrow. While ROZI (23), Genti’s cousin, who is dating a foreign boy of different race, represents the struggle for going forward, struggle for human rights and gender equality, her mother ELMAZE (45) and the entire family, including LIRIJA (42) Genti’s mother, are the pieces of inherited traditional beliefs, that live in a foggy world without a courage to step forward, instead they choose self censuring and despair.
The film will strike a cord with audiences who may not necessarily relate to the specific events depicted, but to the mood and to the characters notions over their lifes. It is a place we can all relate, given the times in which we live. This film is not about the customs or the traditions; they are there and they are present on screen, but they are not the issue. The issues are within the characters, their relationships, and the drama. In that sense, it doesn’t matter where they come from, because being a daughter, mother, wife, or any part of a family dynamic is a universal topic that happens everywhere, to everyone. And these are the focus of the film. And, ultimately, I think they are also its biggest strength.
Actually, my desire to make this film is to not know or decide in advance what people will think or feel when they leave the theater. “Fence” speaks about many different subjects: a struggle to change the rules while living in a society which is bounded by very harsh limits, modernism vs. tradition, determinism, mothers and daughters, men and women, the evolution of generations, the disintegration of the family unit, and much more.
I want to direct the viewer towards a specific subject out of the bunch would diminish the many layers of this story. I want each viewer to connect to whatever subject or subjects he relates to the most. In addition, I want to leave the film with an open end, not in terms of the story, but in terms of its conclusion. I think the ending can be read in many different ways. Every thought an audience might have in the end is a bless, just as long as it has one.
Roma* The Romani or Roma are widely known among English-speaking people as “Gypsies”.