Death in Sarajevo (Smrt u Sarajevu). Danis Tanović. Bosnia & Herzegovina/France.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize at this year’s Berlinale, the latest from Oscar-winning filmmaker Danis Tanović (No Man’s Land) transpires over the course of a single, turbulent day at a grand hotel in Sarajevo where an illustrious event commemorating the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is taking place. In Altmanesque fashion, Death in Sarajevo shifts between a number of figures from the disgruntled staff of the hotel who are on the verge of striking to a television journalist conducting to the participants of a TV news special about Ferdinand’s assassin, Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip.
Tanović weaves together a complex, expanding portrait of disparity: class division, national identity, and political discord. Neither dry or heavy-handed, Death in Sarajevo asks a number of difficult, politically relevant questions and never settles on easy answers. While specific to the various cultural identities in the Balkans, its appeal expands beyond that region, becoming a parable for our uncertain times and the escalating, resounding unrest of the people.
Death in Sarajevo premiered in competition at the Berlinale and has played at various festivals worldwide. Unfortunately, I don’t have any distribution info for the U.S., U.K., or France.
With: Snežana Marković, Izudin Bajrović, Jacques Weber, Vedrana Seksan, Muhamed Hadžović, Faketa Salihbegović, Aleksandar Seksan, Edin Avdagić Koja, Rijad Gvozden, Bojan Hadzihalilovic, Nihad Kreševljaković