THE SLOGAN OF THE FILM FESTIVAL IS ‘WE CAN’T PROMISE YOU ANYTHING’// 10. 1993. • HARIS PASOVIC// DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL THEATER AND FILM FESTIVAL
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Director of International Film and Theater Festival-MES
THE SLOGAN OF THE FILM FESTIVAL IS ‘WE CAN’T PROMISE YOU ANYTHING’
‘The first to reply was that wonderful old producer Lina Wertmuler who said she congratulated us. After that we heard from Wim Wenders who sent a latter saying he was sending us his films. Then things began to snowball. The result being that in October ’93 we had a Film Festival with parallel projections in three cinemas. It lasted 10 days and there were 140 films from all over the world. We calculated that there were about 20 thousand viewers in those 10 days. It really was a wonder. We were immediately joined by colleagues from Oslobodjenje, Saga, Radio Zid, from the Academy of Scenic Arts. The atmosphere was fantastic. We hired some generators from our friends in the humanitarian organizations and some petrol. A team of volunteers joined us. It was an amazing atmosphere. And echoed round. People were eager to see the films; there were packed crowds. People literally chanced sniping to get there.’
• The executive committee of the city reaches a decision on the increase of apartment rent from October 1st.
• An “interreligious event” is held: participants include the Orthodox priest Avakum Rosic, head of the Catholic church Vinko Puljic, Reis-ul-ulema Effendi Ceric, Brother Petar Arandjelovic, President of the Jewish community David Kamhi. A mass is held at the Sarajevo cathedral and liturgy at the Orthodox church.
• During the siege of Sarajevo 120,000 refugees enter the city.
• For the first time during the war the Art Gallery of BiH is opened. There is an exhibition of photographs by Annie Leibovitz. The exhibition is opened by Susan Sontag.
• Susan Sontag becomes an honorary citizen of Sarajevo.
• The Pope sends a message of peace: “Bosnians, you are not alone!”
• “Velepekara” stops working. It has neither gas nor oil.
• The Blessed Peace Buliders wounded in a peace mission across the Vrbanja Bridge. One of them dies.
• Sarajevo Brewery produces 1,000,000 beers a month as a substitute for water. The factory has a stock of raw materials that could last for two years.
• Adi Sarajlic, journalist for the radio station “Zid”, tells his early morning listeners: “260 listeners phone in between 3:30 and 4 o’clock in the morning.
• The HVO wants control over Jablanica. The owners of power plants are set to address the issue of financing Herzeg-Bosnia by exporting electricity to Dalmatia.
• In Sarajevo the smuggling of drugs, works of art and food is widespread.
• Medical evacuations reach an impasse.
• The Directorate for Refugees and Displaced Persons founds a counseling center.
• Survey by the radio station “Studio 99”: The majority of Sarajevans are in favor of the introduction of a protectorate.
• The Sarajevo air bridge is the longest running of its kind in history. It lasts 467 days – longer than that of Berlin.
• In the city frequent gas explosions result of improper installations.
• 10,000 signatories across the world for the establishment of a Court for War Crimes. War criminals cannot bring peace. The declaration is signed by George Soros, Wiesenthal, Umberto Ecco, Ginsberg…
• Serbia under sanctions. Pirates hijack oil on the Danube.
• New members of the Presidency of BiH are appointed: Nijaz Durakovic, Stjepan Kljujic, Ivo Komsic. Miro Lasic and Boras relieved from duty.
• Fikret Abdić, former member of the Presidency of BiH, signs a peace agreement with the Bosnian Serbs. Fikret Abdic works in alliance with Mate Boban.
• Opening of the Film Festival in Sarajevo. Many guests stay in Ancona, not having been able to arrange for UN planes. The slogan of the festival: “We can’t promise you anything.”
• The International Court for War Crimes begins working on November 17.
• Operation undertaken by MUP and the Army of RBiH against the 9th motorized and 10th mountain brigades of the Army of RBiH. 530 people are detained. The main culprit, Caco Topalovic, is killed, and Celo surrenders. MUP and ABiH take back bases from the criminals. According to an “Oslobodjenje” survey, citizens are relieved and believe that rule of law will be restored.
• The Jewish pharmacy in Sarajevo dispenses 10,000,000 medicines to citizens.
“Scena obala”. Once a week at 1 p.m. The place is safe. The auditorium sits 100 people. Heating by battery. Movies are on video tapes. The cinema is also a meeting place for intellectuals, foreign newsman and artist.
Programme of The International Theatre and Film Festival Sarajevo
Programme „DO IT“
Euripides ALCESTIS (6.8.1993)
Directed by Haris Pašović
Beckett WAITING FOR GODOT (17.8.1993)
Directed by Susan Sontag
„The play could have been written for Sarajevo“, said the American author Susan Sontag of Waiting for the Godot, which she is directing in the besieged city. „A bunch of people think an arbitrary power is going to save them. Godot could be Clinton or the UN. It is deeply touching“...
The rehearsals in the Youth Theatre are a cameo of life under siege. There is no electric light. Actors pore over their lines by the light of two candles and a lamp donated by Soros Foundation. The rehearsal stopped when the cast heard one of Sarajevo's best-known actors had been killed that day by a shell in the market. The actors are all hungry. „They sit down when they are not acting because they are weak“, Ms Sontag said.
„I hear Ms Sontag is waiting for Godot – we are waiting for the Europeans and the Americans,“ commented Jovan Divjak, a Bosnian army chief. „Did Godot ever show up?“
(Independent, 2 August 1993)
Selimović FORTRESS (8.12.1993)
Directed by Ahmet Obradović
Sophocles AJAX (6.12.1993)
Directed by Pjer Žalica
„Ajax“ has been produced as a final exam of professor Pašović's student Pjer Žalica.
Schumann THE OLD ART OF PUPPETRY IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER (26.12.1993)
Directed by Peter Schumann
Peter Schumann, founder of the legendary theatre company „Bread and Puppet“ has come to Sarajevo for the second time since the siege has begun. During one of the worst periods of the siege of the city Peter Schumann was the guest of the International Theatre and Film Festival Sarajevo. That was the time when he hosted a workshop that resulted in the production of „Resurrection Oratorio“.
He was born in Sarajevo in 1961. In 1984 he graduated the Academy of Art in Novi Sad. His professional training includes the Fulbright Scholarship, High Level Training for Directors (Festival d’Avignon, UNESCO), work for Nordic Theatre Institute Holstebro in Denmark. Haris Pašović was directing in the most important theatres in former Yugoslavia before the war and has won almost every major theater award. His work has included Aristophanes’ “Birds”, Bunuel’s “Hamlet”, Jarry “Ubu Roa”, Wedekind’s “Spring’s Awakening”, “Marat/Sade”, Kiš “Simon, the Magician”.
During the siege of the city, Haris Pasovic continued to direct theater performances (“City”, “Silk Drums” based on the Japanese classical theatre, Euripides’ “Alcestis”, “Silk Drums II” “In the country of last things”, by Paul Auster) and films and organize screenings and exhibitions. He has been running the Sarajevo International Theatre and Film Festival.
It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
I wouldn’t come back.
How do you describe perfect happiness?
What is you biggest loss?
What is your biggest gain?
A new look at freedom and that I do not hate anybody.
When and where were you happiest?
What are your lost illusions?
A healthy society.
Describe your day at work.
Waking up, reading, administration, creation, reading, sleeping.
What words don’t you use anymore?
How do I remember?
In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
Where would you like to live?
How have you survived?
By accident, for now.
What are you afraid of?
A world war.
Does the past exist for you?
This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
It would be nice if it was intelligent.
Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
Once you find the recipe it is often too late.
How would you like to die?
I would not like to die.
Do you need hope to live?
After hope and after fear.
What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
How would you call this period of your life?
Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
Do you like life, and what is life all about?
Yes, but I cannot answer the second part of the question.