Notes on a true story – Hania & Dobrawa present “Malasana”
Hania Rani and Dobrawa Czocher have collaborated with filmmaker Mateusz Miszczyński, a long-term friend with whom they have worked several times over the years, to produce a new video for their track “Malasana”, released on their album “Inner Symphonies”. Their music now provides the soundtrack to his meditation on the true story of a mother, Madina, and her children, Edilbek, Milana, Mariam, Islam and Jakub, forced to flee their native Chechnya. Madina and the five children play themselves in Miszczyński’s short film, which was created over the summer of 2021, and is made all the more poignant by today’s situation.
"We’ve been friends and worked with Mateusz for years,” explain Hania and Dobrawa. "Like him, we feel the need to address topics that are important and personal to us. We wanted to tell this story through children’s eyes. The subject of the music video touches on war and migration problems, dressed here in metaphorical clothes with elements of magical realism, which in subtle but effective ways distract us from literalism and take this family’s story beyond any specific political situation.”
In real life, Madina and her children were held for 123 days in 2016 at a railway station in Belarus, close to Poland’s eastern border, unable either to return home or to proceed to claim asylum in the European Union. Now settled in Poland, they are active in the Granica Group, which provides help on a daily basis to refugees at the Belarus-Poland border.
Miszczyński and cinematographer Jakub Stoszek shot "Malasana” near the village of Bilwinowo in northeastern Poland’s Suwałki region, a borderland scarred over the centuries by many bloody conflicts. Finding this location and meeting Madina’s family gave the filmmaker what he describes as “the strength and faith” to address a difficult subject. His mind was further focused when he discovered that Madina and her children were also fleeing domestic violence.
”The first moment of humility and gravity came while I was talking to the children,” recalls Miszczyński. “They asked me a very innocent and natural question: ‘In the film, who will play our dad?’ I answered quickly and thoughtlessly, but it bothered me. Madina’s husband, arrested and repressed many times by the Kadyrov regime, had fallen into addiction and become violent himself. The moment the children asked that question was the moment I realised there’s no such thing as a universal, context-free story about war. That always, even wrapped in a metaphor, a story draws on someone’s experiences and traumas. And as it turned out in the case of our film, the experiences that came from Madina and her children could not have been any closer or more tangible.”
”We’re very grateful to Madina’s family for giving us their time, sharing their experiences and working with us so openly and in such good spirits to create this film. If music and the art of film have the power to make an impact, we think this video will do just that,” add Hania and Dobrawa.