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BERLIN 2016 Bosnia

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Danis Tanović returns to Berlin with Death in Sarajevo

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- Danis Tanović is back in the Berlinale competition three years after winning two Silver Bears with An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker

Danis Tanović returns to Berlin with Death in Sarajevo
Death in Sarajevo by Danis Tanović

Bosnia's most famous writer-director, Danis Tanović, who won the Best Foreign-language Film Academy Award in 2001 and Best Screenplay at Cannes with his first film, No Man's Land [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, will be in competition at the Berlinale with his latest effort, Death in Sarajevo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Danis Tanovic
film profile
]
. This is his second time in Berlin's main section – in 2013, his An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Danis Tanović
festival scope
film profile
]
received two Silver Bears, including one for non-professional actor Nazif Mujić.

Written by Tanović, Death in Sarajevo is based on Bernard-Henri Lévy’s play Hotel Europe, which premiered at Sarajevo’s National Theatre in June 2014. The play consists of a man delivering a monologue in his Sarajevo hotel room, rehearsing a speech on the 100th anniversary of 
the assassination of Arch
duke Franz Ferdinand. 

“I 
was approached about filming this, and after attending some rehearsals, I was inspired to make an 
entire film around the play, 
encompassing its spirit 
and expanding its ideas,” says Tanović. The movie is set in Sarajevo’s best hotel, Hotel Europe, which is bustling in preparation for the European Union gala for the centennial celebration. But the unpaid staff plan to strike, and hotel manager Omer turns to tough guy Enzo, who runs the cellar strip club. The staff’s union representative soon goes missing.

Chief receptionist Lamija does her best to keep everything running smoothly, but things get tricky when her mother, Hatidža, from the laundry room, is elected strike leader. 
The VIP keynote speaker from France doesn’t have much time to prepare, stumbling through complex details and names, secretly recorded on video in black and white by a security man. On the hotel roof, TV journalist Vedrana conducts interviews for a centennial special. Among her guests is Gavrilo Princip, the namesake descendant of the Archduke’s assassin. Firm political stances quickly lead to age-old arguments. 

French actor Jacques Weber (last seen in Les bêtises [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), who created the character of the keynote speaker for the stage play, reprises his role in the film. Izudin Bajrović (A Stranger [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Bobo Jelcic
festival scope
film profile
]
), Aleksandar Seksan (Our Everyday Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ines Tanović
film profile
]
), Faketa Salihbegović-Avdagić (With Mom [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Faruk Loncarevic
film profile
]
), Snežana Vidović (The Hunting Party), Vedrana Seksan (Our Everyday Life) and Muhamed Hadžović (Snow [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) also star.

Tanović's regular collaborator Erol Zubčević was the DoP, Redžinald Šimek was the editor, and the original score was composed by Mirza Tahirović. Amra Bakšić-Čamo of Bosnia's SCCA/Pro.ba and François Margolin of France's Margo Cinema are the producers, with Adis Djapo serving as co-producer.

The international rights are handled by The Match Factory

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Focal Production Value
 

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