It feels kind of embarrassing to be writing about Sarajevo only from the entertainment point of view. Of course there is so much more to the city than amusement, fun and pleasure. But be it as it is, I always have good time in Sarajevo. Somehow, every time I’m there I enjoy it a lot. Call me trivial, I don’t mind at all.
You might remember Sarajevo from the news back in the 90’s when the horrible siege of the city took place and kept its citizens trapped for far too long. The actual post-war renovations of the city may be slow and partial but it’s the people that form one city’s soul. Sarajevans or Sarajlije, as they’re called locally, are relaxed, modern and proud of their multicultural city. I love to hang out with them. It’s so much fun!
The Sarajevo Film Festival is a real treat. It seems to be a city’s motor of some sort. It feels as if everybody is hardly waiting only for it to begin. The city itself gets spruced up, so do people who on any other occasion make very sartorial outings anyway be it a stroll down Ferhadija, main pedestrianized street, a dinner or party, but during the events of the film festival they get very classy indeed.
The films we saw this time were: On the Other Side of Hope, which won the Silver Bear award in Berlin this year, Aus dem Nichts (In the Fade) starring the fantastic Diane Kruger, a very particular Good Times, Žaba (The Frog), the most impatiently awaited Bosnian film, and a fraction of oldie-goldie A Fish Called Wanda, which showed as a tribute to John Cleese.
Many stars and celebrities come to Sarajevo during the film festival. Oliver Stone and John Cleese were the most widely known ones this year and they both received the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo award for lifetime achievement. There were of course many more.
The most wonderful venue for watching the films is certainly a huge courtyard known among Sarajevans as Metalac. It’s right in the heart of the city, in the vicinity of so called Festival Square, encircled with Austria-Hungarian townhouses. It’s righteously the most popular venue.
Although we certainly love a good film, it’s not (only) films that we come to Sarajevo for during its famous film festival. It’s the city itself, its personality and vibe.
Sarajevans are very much emotionally attached to their city. Even as a total outsider I can nod to their uneasiness about any other city. After Sarajevo many other capitals of the West, particularly the monocultural ones, seem justifiably boring.
I’ve written about some of my previous visits to Sarajevo: https://mrssage.com/sarajevo-or-my-weekend-with-robert-de-niro/ and https://mrssage.com/sarajevo-revisited/