The most significant challenges that the world encountered during the previous century and is facing now are connected with globalization, which stands for increased interconnection of people and places due to the process of political, economic, and cultural changes. The territories that used to be remote are currently connected via communication, commerce, and tourism. Despite the fact that globalization has been continuing for several hundred years, the international connections, such as business consolidation and amalgamation, are currently established at a faster pace than ever before. Despite the fact that economic operations might be the chief and key propellant of globalization, their outcomes impact all facets of life in the new millennium. In fact, cultural, political, and social spheres are all undergoing substantial changes as a result of globalization. Due to the fact that natural resources are currently considered as global commodities, the planet’s physical features are influenced as well. Financial resolutions made thousands of miles away from a country change local ecosystems, while these far-reaching operations can potentially have a considerable adverse influence on the whole world. Ivo Andric’s historical novel Bridge on the Drina and the movie Tangerines directed by Zara Urushadze are the two artistic pieces that will be used to explain and demonstrate the globalization process through different symbols, situations, and character interactions.
Ivo Andric’s historical novel Bridge on the Drina narrates the story of the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge constructed over the Drina River in the town of Visegrad. The bridge appears a wordless witness of history, starting from its construction by the Ottomans during the middle of the 16th century until its fragmentary demolition during the First World War (Murtic 2015, 128). The novel span comprises approximately four centuries, covering both Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian occupation of the territory, and makes a special emphasis on the lives, destinies and relations of the local inhabitants, particularly Bosniaks and Serbs (Murtic 2015, 128). The history reveals that Serbia experienced a number of different conflicts during the time described in the novel. However, the author underscores existence of peculiar facets of integration and globalization processes, which impeded complete political, social, and cultural disintegration (Murtic 2015, 128). The author utilizes the bridge as a central point of the novel in order to allude and appeal to discrepant challenges, events and apprehensions of people who live in Visegrad. The novel provides vivid examples of how the third space of identity exists in a geopolitical zone of identification conflicting acts. It reveals the globalization process through cultural hybridization, which shows that multicultural identities leave room for pluralism and tolerance.
Taking into account the history of Western perception of the Balkans, Andrić’s novel The Bridge on the Drina provides ample demonstration and evidence of the Balkan identity and refers to the well-known metaphor of the Balkans as a bridge, a region that appears between globalization and fragmentation (Zentai and Krizsan 2003, 155). The bridge is the unchangeable heart of the novel, appearing as a symbol of interconnection and reunion. The bridge was initially ordered for construction by Grand Vezir Mehmed Pasha Sokolli in order to connect the western and the eastern parts of the Empire, while enhancing the economic situation in the region (Zentai and Krizsan 2003, 155). Therefore, the bridge appears a main constituent of the globalization process, standing for the increased interconnection of people and places. The bridge appears to be the central region point as it is a place where local inhabitants with divergent views, including Serbian Orthodox, Bosnian Muslims, Roman Catholics, and Jews, gathered in order to work out a satisfactory solution to the problems and issues of mutual concern. The bridge witnessed struggles and wars, harmonious cohabitation, fires and floods, and globalization-driven alterations, including construction of water duct and local railroad. Therefore, the bridge can be viewed as a force of resilience and survival even in the face of extreme suffering. The life in the described location was an incomprehensible marvel since it was incessantly wasted and spent; nevertheless, it sustained all the challenges and abode similarly to “the bridge on the Drina” (Andrić 1977, 81). Thus, the bridge plays the intermediary role not only due to the fact that it spans the river separating a Serbian Orthodox village from the Bosnian Muslim one, but because it reveals a hybrid location. The novel demonstrates how the Moslems (meaning the elderly residents) of the town gathered around youngsters who were reading them newspapers, explaining and expounding foreign phrases, expressions, and untypical names and clarifying any geographical issues (Tickner and Blaney 2013, 159). However, the elderly did not need the last part of clarifications or explications due to the fact that they “knew and understood everything for their geography was in their blood and they felt biologically their picture of the world” (Andrić 1997, 229). The novel demonstrates that the evolvement of identity grounded on geography (meaning the Balkans) and geopolitical poles appears to be a transition space (Murtic 2015, 128). Thus, the contradiction in the heart of the novel stands for the fact that, while the bridge remained ageless and permanent, the territories located on the river banks which it joined symbolized the state of impermanence (Tickner and Blaney 2013, 159). This is the main reason why the bridge is outlined as “the same as it had always been, with the eternal youth of a perfect conception, one of the great and good works of man, which do not know what it means to change and grow old and which, or so it seemed, do not share the fate of the transient things of this world” (Andrić 1977, 214). Hence, the bridge can be viewed as the circumstances repulsing the Balkan people, meaning that their entrapment in a space surrounded by colonial powers naturally leads to the creation the third space of globalization-grounded interconnection (Tickner and Blaney 2013, 159).
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Moreover, the bridge is also used to symbolize peacefulness and restfulness, which were characteristic for the town and ambient areas even during various wars and conflicts. In fact, while outlining war, the author states: “In all this fresh storm which had burst over the town sweeping away living men and inanimate things, the bridge remained white, solid and invulnerable as it had always been… whole and untouched, between the two warring sides” (Andrić 1977, 307). The main causes of the existing conflicts lied in religious and cultural discrepancies while the bridge stood for the place where all the prejudices and hatred were forgotten (Andrić 1977, 123). Hence, people who dwelled close to the bridge appeared to live in harmony and peace and even assisted each other during challenging situations and occasions regardless of the conflicts occurring in the other regions of Bosnia. The physical strength of the bridge stands for persistent durability of the people (Tickner and Blaney 2013, 159). As the author stated: “misfortunes do not last forever … bridge does not change with the years or with the centuries or with the most painful turns in human affairs. All these pass over it, even as the unquiet waters pass beneath its smooth and perfect arches” (Andrić 1977, 101).
Finally, the bridge is utilized to symbolize cultural integration, providing the author with a possibility to delineate the likelihood of integration even in case of enmity. For example, the novel demonstrates that the Grand Vezir, who instructed and directed the construction of the bridge, was born as a Christian Serb while being raised among Muslim Turks. In fact, the author emphasized that Vezir remembered his origin and understood Turkish culture, which allowed him to accommodate both cultures in a harmonious manner, creating a basis for interconnection and future globalization. This example helps the author to support the argument that social cohesion and integration is possible even in other Serbia regions, regardless of all conflicts and differences. Therefore, the bridge symbolizes the capability of connecting different cultures (Andrić 1977, 16). The novel vividly depicts the possibility of building mutual respect between highly divergent cultures, allowing peaceful existence in spite of the existence of major global conflicts and wars (Andrić 1977, 69).
The novel demonstrates that soon after its construction, the bridge becomes the defining locus of the developing town. It performs a pivotal function in creating a common interconnected identity of the growing and expanding community, which exceeds ethnic and religious boundaries: “The town soon began to move downwards from the hillside to the water’s edge and expand and develop more and more about the bridge” (Andrić 1977, 71). Thus, the bridge is not only a silent witness, a so-called stone chronicle of all events and historical changes that affect the community, but it stands for the actual generative force behind the thriving town, which develops almost exclusively due to the existence of the bridge (Tickner and Blaney 2013, 159). The bridge stands for the connection between the divergent cultures, which the author believes can endure pain that they inflict on each other. The author traces the influence of the vicissitudes resulting from discrepant invasions, annexations, occupations, majorly between the Christian Austro-Hungarian Empire, Serbia, and the Muslim Ottoman Empire, on the village and its bridge. This history established the specific composition of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which remains until current days. Despite these vicissitudes, the globalized market on the bridge was constant; it was the only place where the whole village and its constituent parts could congregate.
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The movie Tangerines directed by Zara Urushadze pictures a touching and gripping anti-war story. It shows the post-Soviet Caucasus of 1992-1993 war period, during which Georgians fought against separatist Abkhazians who were supported by Russia. The story starts by depicting an elderly carpenter Ivo, who tidily and carefully saws wooden boards. His activity is interrupted by the appearance of Chechen men. Although they behaved aggressively, Ivo peacefully and kindly provided them with food on their requirement (Tangerines 2013). Soldiers leave, but later they get in a firefight with Georgian soldiers, and only one man from each groups survives, yet each of them has serious wounds. Ivo’s house turns into a demilitarized zone, where the globalization process in the form of increased interconnection of people takes place. This process appears to be highly complicated, requiring a lot of patience, calmness, and reason from the house owner, Ivo (Tangerines 2013). The war cannot be regarded as the main focus of the movie because the film is concentrated on depicting relationships between the discrepant characters. It demonstrates that it is exceedingly difficult and challenging in some situations to show a sense of humanity. Therefore, the main line of the movie stands for the anti-war message. The movie makes people believe in equality regardless of religion and nationality. Ivo is the character that conveys this message. He is depicted as an extremely wise man who does not require the two wounded soldiers to respect each other. He understands their hatred and rejection of each other, constantly making jokes on this topic. The process of globalization, expressed through interconnection, starts from humanity. Hence, this aspect is demonstrated through the fact that the main character attempts to save life of both wounded soldiers, even though Georgian soldiers must have killed his son (Tangerines 2013).
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Secondly, Ivo saves the life of the Georgian soldier Niko, knowing that he might be killed if Abkhazian soldiers find out that he secretly cures and harbors the enemy. This moment is highly important for demonstrating the globalization process. Thus, when Abkhazian soldiers came to Ivo’s house, he forbade Niko to speak as this will easily define him as a Georgian and convinced Ahmed to support him in this, explaining that Niko is his comrade Chechen soldier who cannot communicate because of the serious head wound (Tangerines 2013). At this point, Ahmed’s decision to support Ivo cannot be easily explained. On the one hand, he might have lied because he wanted to kill Niko to take revenge for the death of his close friend. On the other hand, he might have already felt interconnected with Ivo and Niko, feeling compassion and revealing humanity. This moment also reveals a great discrepancy between Abkhazians’ and Ivo’s views on enemies’ burial. Thus, the Abkhazian leader claimed that: “throwing [Georgians] out on a road like dogs would have been right for them,” while Ivo parried that: “[Georgians] are human beings as well” (Tangerines 2013). This dialogue demonstrates that conflicts and wars make people irrational and make them forget basic human values, such as respect, humaneness, and dignity.
Thirdly, Ivo is the major character who interconnects sworn enemies in a variety of methods. In fact, Ivo vividly understands that both soldiers have one major characteristic in common, namely if they give their word, they will not break it, and they respect elderly people. He forbade the soldiers to kill each other in his house, stimulating them to accept and tolerate each other, eat and drink at the same table, and communicate with each other. The table appears to have a largely symbolic meaning. It can be viewed as a negotiation table, which reconciles and interconnects people who became enemies by force of circumstance (Zhang 2012, 57). The globalization process requires two individuals to conserve and commiserate (Zhang 2012, 57). Numerous tensions rise between the two enemies during their recovery process, which lasted for a couple of days, due to the fact that they had to dwell in the same tiny house. The process of their reconciliation was slow, but both soldiers acknowledged the honor and humanity in each other. In fact, Ivo’s moral custody and tutorship helped both of them shift away from antagonism and hatred to comradeship and respect. Thus, the enduring period of induced cohabitation in the process of wounds recovery had a humanizing impact on both soldiers. Although they are not capable of preventing the outer world from wreaking long-lasting havoc, they progressively become connected to each other in a manner, which transcends geographical, religious, and ethnic discrepancies (Zhang 2012, 57). The development of their relationships and interconnection reaches its peak when Niko saves Admed’s life in skirmish at the cost of his own life. Admed’s reaction to Niko’s death vividly demonstrates human possibility to change individual principles, cherish humanity, and forget previous conflicts, aggression, and hatred.
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Finally, when Niko dies, Ivo buries him near his son despite the fact that the rest of the soldiers were buried in the woods and his friend Margus was buried in his garden (Tangerines 2013). This is a highly symbolical scene, as after Georgian soldiers senselessly killed his son, the war started. Ahmed, the Chechen soldier who survived and was cured by Ivo, is shocked after hearing about this fact. He asks: “So he was killed by Georgians?” and Ivo answers: “Yes. What is the difference” (Tangerines 2013). Admed cannot calm down, asking again how Ivo could bury a Georgian near his son. This is the most significant moment of the film as when Ivo asks Admed: “Does it have a difference,” Ahmed answers after some reflections: “It doesn’t” and smiles (Tangerines 2013). This is the moment when he truly understands that differences, including political, cultural, economical, and religious, do not matter. This is a moment when he comprehends that all people are human beings who live on one planet and breathe the same air, and humanity and human interconnection is the most important issue.
Thus, it is obvious that the main message of the movie is pacifism. It shows how the main character humanizes fighters and highlights the pettiness and silliness of human destruction driven by religious and ideological zealotry. When telling Admed the story of son’s death, Ivo explained that when his son went to fight to protect the land, Ivo attempted to discourage his decision, explaining that it was nobody’s war (Tangerines 2013). Ivo’s message is extremely important as wars explain both everything and nothing. They disconnect people, being conflicts that ordain future catastrophes which will concern each individual in the world. Tangerines, which are symbolic for this movie, standing as a bright contrast to the dark war, consist of numerous pieces, which are covered by one skin. Nevertheless, it is easy to peel and separate tangerine into pieces, similarly to the globalized worldwide peace. Globalization process requires all people regardless of their origin, culture, and religion find slices of open dialogue and negotiation in the tangerine of world order (Zhang 2012, 57). This symbol reveals the importance of interconnection, even despite the necessity of numerous cultural, political, and individual changes.
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Individuals do not live as independent units devoid of cultural and religious ties that shape their identities. This is a time when identities should be formulated or are formulated through moving and shifting boundaries between religions, cultures, political perceptions, and other spheres of specific cognition and reception. In fact, divergent identities appear to be layered upon discrepancies, which span each other instead of searching for similarities and homogeneity. Ivo Andric’s historical novel Bridge on the Drina and the movie Tangerines directed by Zara Urushadze are the two artistic pieces that were analyzed in this paper in order to demonstrate the globalization process of interconnection through different symbols, situations, and character interactions. Both artistic pieces reveal stories of conflict and war, which are provoked by differences, either political or religious. Nevertheless, both the movie and the novel demonstrate that there are issues which stimulate the enemies to communicate and interconnect, being it the bridge as in the novel, or the house and its wise host as in the movie. These issues remind about the importance of humanity, respect, dignity and other concepts that constitute the distinct human nature regardless of all existing discrepancies. Therefore, a clash of different cultures, religions, and regions contributed to the overall reevaluation of humanism in the age of globalization due to improved cross-cultural communication. The artistic pieces demonstrate that globalization through interconnection can be constructed either via the usage of symbolic designs, which are interpreted metaphysically as a connecting point, or through understanding discrepant identities within societal and global scope.