Part of Memories of Displacement

In Flow of Words

Eliane Esther Bots

The Netherlands 2021, 22 minutes

In Eliane Esther Bots’ experimental film In Flow of Words, three interpreters at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague discuss the gulf between professionalism and the intense emotion generated by their work. The courtrooms and the fact-finding missions are rigorously designed sites defined by strict rules, rituals and costumes. Every participant has to play their part as neutrally and objectively as possible so that the conflict can be presented in a “linguistic”, controlled and civilised form. The interpreters, who themselves lived through the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, have to align the erratic process of interpretation and their own memories and feelings with the rules that apply in the arena of the Tribunal: a surreal position between speakers and listeners, witnesses and defendants, judges and attendees.


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