Hotel Sarajevo

“The war arrived in Sarajevo on a Sunday. It was April 5th, 1992. Everyone was saying that there wouldn’t be a war. And even if there would have been one, it would never have reached Sarajevo. ” – Zoran Herceg 

 

Director
Barbara Cupisti

From an idea by
Andrea Di Consoli

Subject
Barbara Cupisti
Natascia Palmieri
Diego Zandel

With the collaboration
Barbara Meleleo

Director of Photography
Antonello Sarao

Sound
Domenico Rotiroti

Sound design
Riccardo Cimino

Original Soundtrack
Tommaso Gimignani

Editing
Piero Lassandro

Voice Over
Roberto Moliterni

A production by
Clipper Media, Luce Cinecittà con Rai Cinema

Produced by
Sandro Bartolozzi

Executive Producer
Barbara Meleleo

Press Office
REGGI&SPIZZICHINO Communication

Length90

Press Materials
Download Press Book

Thirty years after the Balkan war and the siege of Sarajevo, one of the longest in modern history, three generations tell their story: Boba, a war fixer, Zoran, who was only thirteen, Belmina who was not even born yet. It becomes a confrontation of memory and trauma, in an attempt to overcome it. 

The Holiday Inn Hotel in Sarajevo, which was home of many foreign correspondents and TV crews, will function as a frame to these stories. 

Hotel Sarajevo, together with its protagonists, retraces some of the events of the conflict in former Yugoslavia, recounting the legacy of a war that took place in the heart of Europe. 

The Protagonists  

Zoran Herceg is an artist, writer and cartoonist. At the time of the war he was a boy, becoming a young refugee who will have to reflect on the sense of his life, being a surviving Yugoslav. Boba Lizdek is a war fixer. She was twenty-six at the time of the conflict. She was a dynamic figure who, by going in and out of the Holiday Inn, facilitated the communication between the conflict areas and the Western press that stayed in the hotel. 

Both retrace their memories for the 30th anniversary of the siege of Sarajevo: Boba does so through her exhibition on the Holiday Inn at the Sarajevo Historical Museum and her commitment to the Hotel History Foundation, with the aim of reconstructing the historical memory of war hotels in various parts of the world; Zoran through the research for his comic book.  

The link between the Holiday Inn and Boba is deep. There, her love story with the French chronicler Paul Marchan started. It was a love that ignited in the midst of the bombings and allowed her to survive the war. 

Zoran’s journey reveals the dynamics of the ethnic and sectarian balances contained in the Dayton agreements, which risk fueling divisions rather than helping to overcome them. 

Zoran and Boba meet the young executive manager Belmina Bajrović right at the Holiday Inn. During this meeting, three generations confront each other: that of Boba, which develops across past and present; that of Zoran, who was forced to flee abroad with a Red Cross convoy, and takes us to the present through the analysis of his personal memory and his comic; finally, that of Belmina, who was not yet born. 

It is Zoran who leads us through his story and in the places of his life. From that first moment, he starts the research to recompose the past with the present, history with everyday life. 

“The war ended when I was seventeen. Now that I’m forty-three, I can still hear the mortar shells. They come from another country which, like mine, feels part of Europe.” 

OTHER ENCOUNTERS  

With Zoran we also discover the cultural and artistic aspects of Sarajevo, which have never taken a step back, even in the darkest moments. 

We meet Nihad Kresevljakovic, director of the International Theater Festival MESS and director, together with his brothers Sead and Nedim Alikadic, of the documentary “Do you remember Sarajevo?”. We will investigate the representation of memory in art and video. 

We will meet Bakira Hasesic, one of the approximately 25.000 women who were raped between 1992 and 1995 during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bakira has been fighting for years to break the silence and in 2003 she founded the Zenezrtve Rata (Women Victims of War) association, based in Sarajevo. It unites Muslim, Serbian, Croatian and Roma women. It has collected over five thousand testimonies of women victims of war rape. 

We meet Bekir Halilović and Valentina Gagić Lazić from Adopt Srebrenica. Bekir lost his father during the genocide. His trauma is representative of them all: a generation without fathers in search of an identity. Together they hope to change things, trying to revive Srebrenica through art and the recovery of memory.