Bosnian Oscar-winner's film opens Sarajevo festival

Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:29pm EDT
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By Maja Zuvela

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - The Sarajevo Film Festival opens on Friday with the world premiere of "Circus Columbia," a romantic saga set in the period that led to the region's 1992-95 war, by Bosnia's Oscar-winning film director Danis Tanovic.

The film tells the story of Divko, a Bosnian who returns as a wealthy man to his home town in southern Herzegovina at the end of the 1980s after decades of work abroad.

He comes back with a young wife and seeks revenge in a society where former Communist leaders have taken top positions in the first democratically elected local government.

Divko's first victory is managing to throw out his ex-wife and a son from their house. It appears he is winning and that money can buy everything, before his life turns upside down and the war comes to his town.

"It is our honor that the film, co-produced by six European countries, has picked (us) for its world premiere, despite invitations by much larger festivals, such as Toronto," said festival director Mirsad Purivatra.

The 2002 Oscar for Tanovic's "No Man's Land" as best foreign movie helped stoke a new feeling of optimism among film professionals and fans alike in a country which is still proud of its pre-war film production.

The Sarajevo festival was founded 16 years ago as an act of defiance at the end of the war, and the siege of the city by Bosnian Serb forces, and has grown into the largest film gathering in the Balkans.

It acts as a major showcase for East European films.   Continued...