westGo West is a highly controversial Bosnian film about a gay couple trying to survive the Bosnian conflict. Though much of the criticism of the film has ostensibly been about its alleged reduction of the deaths of 250,000 people to a "story about two gays," Bosnia also has a history of intense homophobia. Discussing the place of homosexuality in his home, a character in the film claims that even when Bosnia's feuding ethnic groups finally stop fighting, "they will continue to hate homosexuals." In this environment, an enthusiastic response was not exactly expected.

The film was publicly screened for the first time last night at the Sarajevo Film Festival, where it received a rapturous reception from a huge crowd that had gathered around the outdoor screen. Though Bosnia's homophobia is shared by many of its Balkan neighbors, the audience was respectfully quiet throughout the screening, and met the film's conclusion with a long ovation.

Go West
will be seen by a wider audience for the first time at the Montreal Film Festival at the end of August.