Remake ­ A film from Sarajevo by Dino Mustafic

The siege of Sarajevo is just one reason why Dino Mustafic’s Remake is already a major film event of 2003. That torturous siege, lasting four long years from 1992 to 1996, went down in modern history as the longest blockade of a major city throughout the entire 20th century. Remake should not be missed. In the photo above (courtesy Forum Film Sarajevo) Dino Mustafic (right) is paid a friendly, supportive visit on the set in Paris for the French segment by Danis Tanovic (left), whose No Man’s Land had been awarded the 2001 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. After the international success of No Man’s Land, it was only a matter of time before the theme of the siege would be addressed by another Bosnian filmmaker who had lived through the events depicted and could effectively disperse the ghosts of those trite dramas, slight-of-hand thrillers, and imitation epics spawn in the decade since the siege began. For like the Tanovic forerunner, Remake is based on authentic events ­ in this case the autobiography of screenwriter Zlatko Topcic.
       Also, as the title hints, the »remake« theme refers back to similar events that had taken place in Sarajevo in 1943 during the Second World War. Further, there’s an added thematic twist that adds more psychological depth to the unique film-within-a-film-within-a-film that involves two sets of friends from the same Sarajevo neighborhood who end up on opposite sides of the conflict. For since the protagonist, Tarik Karaga (Ermin Bravo), just happens to be a budding screenwriter himself, it’s his award winning scenario that ultimately frees him, though only momentarily, from captivity and brings him to Paris. There he is asked to address the intellectual community about what he has seen and experienced ­ a scene that is enough to send chills down your back, for it strikes home and goes straight to the heart of the matter. An indifferent public is asked: how many more »remakes« does humanity need to awaken from its slumber? Remake premiered in January 2003 at Rotterdam, was invited to Göteborg, and can be seen in the Film Market at the Berlinale.

Ronald Holloway