Introducing the programme of the 29th Sarajevo Film Festival: "30 Years Since the First War Cinema Apollo"

The Sarajevo Film Festival this year celebrates an important anniversary from before the dawn of the Festival and organizes a programme titled "30 Years Since the First War Cinema Apollo."

The programme "30 Years Since the First War Cinema Apollo" will feature seven film classics: Joel Schumacher's "Falling Down", David Lynch's "Wild at Heart," Dennis Hopper's "Easy Rider", Neil Jordan's „We're No Angels“, Jim Jarmusch's "Night on Earth", Paul Verhoeven's "Basic Instinct" and Ridley Scott's "Thelma & Louise."

The screenings will take place at the location where it all started: the Obala Open Stage, in the basement of the Sarajevo Academy of Performing Arts.

The festival is rooted in numerous film screenings and events that were staged by the Obala Art Centar, the organizer of the Sarajevo Film Festival, during the Siege of Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995 at the Cinema Apollo. Despite those challenging times, what was collectively known as the first wartime movie theatre offered a desperately needed break from reality to the residents of Sarajevo, who endured the siege of their city for three-and-a-half years. The cinema, located in the basement of the Sarajevo Academy of Performing Arts, was always packed despite the risks moviegoers had to take to reach it in a city under almost constant sniping and mortar fire.

Instead of cash, which was scarce during the siege, to be admitted to a screening one had to hand over the symbolic fee of one cigarette. Due to the cuts in electricity to the city, the theatre was powered by a generator and films were projected off VHS tapes brought into the besieged city by its friends as a rare link with the outside world, especially with the goings-on of arts and culture. With the strong support of the international film community, various film programmes and retrospectives of the selections of top international festivals, such as those of Edinburgh and Locarno, were staged in Sarajevo without interruption from February 1993 to December 1995, giving rise in 1995 to the Sarajevo Film Festival as we now know it.

„This year, we mark the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Cinema Apollo. To celebrate that historic moment and the festival itself, we will showcase the favourite films that were screened in besieged Sarajevo. The films will be screened in the same basement where everything started thrity years ago to offer a unique glimpse into the past,“ said Jovan Marjanović, the director of the Sarajevo Film Festival.


United States, France, United Kingdom, 1993, 113 min.
Director: Joel Schumacher
Cast: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin, Tuesday Weld, Frederic Forrest, Lois Smith

William Foster, a middle-aged man dealing with unemployment and divorce, is having a bad day. When his car breaks down on a Los Angeles highway, he leaves his vehicle and begins a trek across the city to attend his daughter's birthday party. As he makes his way through the urban landscape, William's frustration and bitterness become more evident, resulting in violent encounters with various people, including a vengeful gang and a dutiful veteran cop.

United States, 1990, 120 min.
Director: David Lynch
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Crispin Glover, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Harry Dean Stanton

After serving prison time for a self-defence killing, Sailor Ripley reunites with his girlfriend, Lula Fortune. Desperate to keep the couple apart, Lula's mother, Marietta, hires a hit man to kill Sailor. But he finds a whole new set of troubles when he and Bobby Peru, an old buddy who's also out to get Sailor, try to rob a store. When Sailor lands in jail yet again, the young lovers appear farther than ever from the shared life they covet.

United States, 1969, 95 min.
Director: Dennis Hopper
Cast: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Antonio Mendoza, Phil Spector, Mac Mashourian, Warren Finnerty, Tita Colorado

Wyatt and Billy, two Harley-riding hippies, complete a drug deal in Southern California and decide to travel across the country in search of spiritual truth. On their journey, they experience the bigotry and hatred of the inhabitants of small-town America, and meet with other travellers who seek alternative lifestyles. After a terrifying drug experience in New Orleans, the two wonder if they will ever find a way to live peacefully in the United States.

United States, 1989, 106 min.
Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Hoyt Axton, Bruno Kirby, Ray McAnally, James Russo, Demi Moore

Ned and Jim are a couple of Great Depression-era convicts who get their shot at freedom when they unexpectedly escape from prison along with a killer. The two fugitives head north towards Canada but, before they can cross the border, they are mistaken for priests and decide to go along with the ruse. Taking up residency at a local monastery, the two men awkwardly try not to blow their cover, even as Ned falls for a beautiful local woman.

France, United Kingdom, Germany, United States, Japan, 1991, 129 min.
Režija / Director: Jim Jarmusch
Uloge / Cast: Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands, Giancarlo Esposito, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Rosie Perez, Isaach de Bankolé, Béatrice Dalle, Roberto Benigni, Paolo Bonacelli, Matti Pellonpää, Kari Väänänen, Sakari Kuosmanen, Tomi Salmela

NIGHT ON EARTH comprises five stories, each involving a cab ride, and each set in a different city around the world. The action in the vignettes takes place at the same time, moving from Los Angeles to Helsinki. In LA, no-nonsense taxi driver Corky gets an engaging fare in the form of a Hollywood casting agent; in New York City, an immigrant cab driver is continually lost in a city and culture he doesn't understand; while a Parisian cabbie must contend with some rowdy African diplomats. In Rome, quirky driver Gino makes a lively confession to an ailing priest, while in Helsinki a cabbie tells his passengers the saddest story they have ever heard.

United States, France, 1992, 123 min.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Wayne Knight, Denis Arndt, Leilani Sarelle, Bruce A. Young

The mysterious Catherine Tramell, a beautiful crime novelist, becomes a murder suspect when she is linked to the brutal death of a rock star. While she is being investigated by homicide detective Nick Curran, Catherine seduces him into an intense relationship. Meanwhile, the murder case becomes increasingly complicated when more deaths that are apparently connected to the first occur, and Nick's psychologist and lover, Beth Garner, comes under suspicion.

United States, United Kingdom, France, 1991, 130 min.
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brad Pitt, Timothy Carhart

Meek housewife Thelma joins her friend Louise, an independent server, on a short fishing trip. However, the trip becomes a flight from the law when Louise shoots and kills a man who tries to rape Thelma at a bar. Louise decides to flee to Mexico, and Thelma joins her. On the way, Thelma falls for sexy young thief J.D., and the sympathetic Detective Slocumb tries to convince the women to surrender before their fates are sealed.

The 29th Sarajevo Film Festival will take place from 11th to 18th of August 2023.

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