“I had to live it through, it deeply affected me. those kind of things stick with you forever.”
Some old folks a few years ago who still recalled their experiences back then kept saying it was, is and will always be painful but to blame a whole nation???? Every flesh and bone? No way, they would never say it, not even the hardcore anti-Turk ones.
Cypriots should also say it about Turkey, not all do. Why do you prefer to stick to Nationalism instead of correcting things through Art? You want to be another militarist, fine….but that kind of notion has damaged the brain of the world for ages.
Dimitris you are emotionally mature and intelligent with a large amount of self-awareness.
when milosevic was caught, millions of serbs were sadened. protesting for him being dispatched
to Haag. they weren’t ashamed like Germany With Hitler, every city in serbia had a full square to his support.
“millions of serbs were sadened.”
How do you know that? Have you studied anthropology and are an expert on every single Serb?
“they weren’t ashamed like Germany With Hitler”
Just as in the case of Serbs, you can’t also predict whether all Germans still detested Hitler after his downfall or some still left to support him, unbeknown to authorities. (and I don’t necessarily mean fascists)
no, but they had a survey about how they felt about it and most unbelievable to me was a mother and little
girl crying among people on square. maybe some don’t feel right what was done in bosnia but those are very few.
I always thought Kusturica was a Bosnian Serb. It’s interesting to find out that he was born into a Muslim family. I can see why you would have a problem with him, Micky. It’d almost be like a Palestinian filmmaker who converted into Judaism and moved to Israel. I’m sure they would be thought of in similar terms as well.
On the other hand, the idea that the main criticism of Kusutrica appears to be that he did not denounce Serb atrocities strong enough either in his films or in interviews still seems slightly odd to me. I guess the question is what the responsibility of the filmmaker is in such a context. Is it a sin of omission? Or commission?
Micky, I notice your favorite filmmakers happen to be Michael Mann, Spielberg, Fincher, and Cameron. I won’t criticize those choices, but, on the other hand, are they all complicit with U.S. foreign policy because none of them denounced Bush in their films? Are they complicit with the slaughter of innocent Afghani and Iraqi civilians – because none of them denounced the U.S. war on terror in strong enough terms either in interviews or in their works? Obviously, this kind of responsibility would be silly.
Dimitris mentioned Turkey which proves an interesting counter-example as well. Is Semih Kaplanoglu a hypocrite for criticizing Kusturica if he himself as Kusturica charged hasn’t denounced the Turkish genocide in Armenia.
you don’t know a lot about this guy do you. the only way you can see a kusturica film in Bosnia or Croatia
is on pirated dvd. not because in Bosnia Bosnian ministry of culture wouldn’t allow it, but because HE HIMSELF
strictly forbidden screening of his films in Bosnia and Croatia, country in which serbs made same atrocities.
he made a song called “ko ne voli radovana, ne viđeo đurđevdana” what means in translation who doesn’t like
radovan karadzic, I hope he doesn’t live till another holiday and during war was a vocal supporter of slobodan milosevic in public.
There is plenty of blame to go around in the Yugoslav wars, plenty of victims and victimizers. I empathize with everyone who lived through those times and lost close ones. However, I do not support painting a people in broad strokes and condemning people en mass. And if we choose to never forgive, how do we move forward as a people?
Time is what’s needed, as mentioned. These scars are very recent and not yet healed. Maybe we shouldn’t force them to be. Everything with time.
As far as the football example of Serbs being some sort of monstrous people, you must be joking. As if the Italians don’t kill each other regularly during matches. The Serbs threw flares, there were probably a few measly fights. Did anyone die?
are you joking? where else do you see this kind of behaviour on sport events?
it’s normal for supporters to come to another city and thrash public property and wreak havoc on stadium?
in italy or any other country families with kids come to football match, serbs are notorious cause of this
behaviour and therefor entire city must have extra security for their supporters. I was myself on a match
between Croatia and serbia in beograd, people were throwing bricks and rocks at us.
don’t talk about things you have no idea about.
“where else do you see this kind of behaviour on sport events?”
Greece, Poland, England, Turkey etc.
You are an unbelievable racist, I feel sorry for you, Nationalist.
“strictly forbidden screening of his films in Bosnia and Croatia, country in which serbs made same atrocities.”
That’s very mature.
^^Soccer is the cause of all evil. another reason to ban it ;-0
Sure. Serbs are abnormal and everyone else in the world is normal. No one else has ever trashed public property before in the history of football matches. Never. In every other country families with kids go to football matches, hold hands, have picnics, give good housekeeping tips and generally celebrate the goodness of mankind.
I’m quite sure people were throwing bricks and rocks at you at that football match, unfortunately. They’re called hooligans. In other societies they’re called criminals, jerks, or maybe just plain old idiots. I’m also quite sure that there were maybe around 100 or so of these idiots throwing rocks (generously speaking). So this is clearly a representative sample of the fact that the vast majority of Serbs are evil and should be treated like animals. And of course we know that no country, not even B&H or Croatia, has even the slightest percentage of criminals and criminal activity. Surely no jerks and idiots.
Micky, if Kusturica is such an ultra-nationalist, how come he challenged the head of the Serbian ultranationalist party to a duel? There are a few other occasions where he has had confrontations with Milosevic supporters. That’s not to say that he hasn’t made some stupid political choices or statements but he seems trapped by his belief that Serbia was unfairly targeted as being exclusively responsible for the evil that occurred during the break up of Yugoslavia. And from what I understand (and you’re quite right that I’m an outsider so my knowledge is limited), while Serbia committed the bulk of atrocities, there was atrocities committed on all sides. Not that it would justify supporting Karadzic (but Kusturica himself seems to make contradictory statements here on whether he’s supposed to be taken seriously or not). But he seems to enjoy putting his foot in his mouth too. From digging around a little, I found this article which is quite good – (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/08/magazine/08EMIR.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1 is a particularly good article).
You don’t know Emir Nemanja Kusturica! Nobody knows…
I’ll say this: His music – whatever the political content – is awful.
^ Seconded. If there’s one crime Kusturica has to apologize for, it’s for ripping off Goran Bregovic!
ari that is utter garbage, defend that piece of shit all you want. I remember him well during the war.
I know what he did I know what he said.
bobby wise, sure there has been others who trashed public property in other cities but none of them
do it in every possible town. serbian nation team is the most sanctioned representation by FIFA.
I can’t believe some colegge frat boy is telling me about hooliganism, I am most ardent supporter
of nk dinamo for 15 years, I’ve traveled across europe to support the club and I never found this kind of
Furious Serbs protesting at western support for Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence set fire to the American embassy in Belgrade last night, as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators converged on the Serbian capital. The attack on the embassy came after hundreds of protesters, watched passively by police, peeled away from the main rally to invade the building in the centre of the capital, using sticks and metal bars.
Witnesses described how the doors to the unprotected embassy – closed after being attacked earlier this week – were knocked in and used to start a fire in an office while demonstrators cheered. Firefighters swiftly put out the flames.
A charred body was later found in the embassy. “It was found at the part of the building set on fire by the protesters,” an embassy spokeswoman, Rian Harris, said. She said all embassy employees were accounted for. Belgrade’s Pink TV said the body appeared to be that of a rioter.
The British embassy also came under attack last night. David Miliband, the foreign secretary, said damage to the building was “limited” and staff were safe. In a statement, he said: “While the Kosovo issue raises strong feelings in Serbia, no cause can justify such displays of violence. We have made clear to the Serbian government that we expect them to fully uphold their obligations to protect our embassy and other diplomatic premises.”
The US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Washington would be asking the security council to unequivocally condemn attacks on embassies. “I’m outraged by the mob attack,” he said.
Groups of protesters also broke into a McDonald’s restaurant and other western-owned businesses in Belgrade.
Police last night also were guarding the independent B-92 television station – viewed by nationalists as pro-western – as youths started gathering nearby.
The rally was the largest since demonstrators filled the streets in 1999 to protest at Nato bombing and stormed the parliament building in October 2000 to oust the nationalist autocrat Slobodan Milosevic.
Papers and chairs were thrown out of the embassy’s windows, while one protester climbed up to the first floor of the building, ripped the US flag off its pole and briefly put up a Serbian flag in its place. The attack on the building and the neighbouring Croatian embassy followed claims by European defence chiefs meeting in Slovenia that security in the Balkans was “under control”.
The rally came after the government ordered Serbian schools closed for the day and the state rail company made free trains available to bring protesters to the capital. Organisers say the rally was intended to demonstrate Serbia’s commitment to holding on to the former province of two million people, where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs by nine to one.
In the south, protesting Serbs also attempted to attack a third border crossing into Kosovo – at Merdare, 30 miles north of Pristina – after destroying two other border crossings earlier this week and driving off UN personnel and Kosovan police. Several hundred Serbian army reservists, many wearing military fatigues, used rocks and sticks to pelt lines of white helmeted ethnic Albanian riot police who were blocking the border and preventing the Serb demonstrators from surging into Kosovo.
this is from newspapers two years ago
does this sound familiar?
College frat boy? You need to slow down and smell what you’re shoveling. I can’t believe that YOU’RE trying to tell ME that Serbian hooligans are the only ones that exist in Europe. So I guess its ok for Italian hooligans to kill each other, but not ok for Serbian hooligans to light flares and smash windows?
Yeah, I remember the “Kosovo is Serbia” night. I guess that’s the only time any nation has ever had a riot and attacked an American embassy. Or better yet, I guess that’s normal for Serbia and they go crazy and attack the embassy every year.
Like I said, I empathize with what everyone went through in the Yugoslav wars and I respect the rawness of the emotions. But you can’t convince me that Serbs are evil. Not a chance. Because I know the truth. Personal experience. Same way you could never convince me that Bosnians or Croats are inherently evil. So feel free to try to sell your story to someone who’s ignorant. And God bless all of your loved ones who were lost in that horrible war. I only hope you don’t expect blood to be given in return, or for hate to pacify your needs. I know that’s easy for me to say as someone who didn’t live through the wars. But contrary to your belief, I’m old enough to know right from wrong.
Hey, Dimitris, Goran Bregovic ripping Balkan traditional music, tarafs, Turks, Gypsies… Kusturica stole ideas and shots from Petrovic, Menzl, Parajanov, Tarkovsky, one young colleague from FAMU in Prague who died suddenly in a car accident. I mean the famous scene with crucifixion upside down at the end of “Time of Gypsies”. Give me a break and please stop this discussion. Kusturica use strong relations in the whole carrier, and best thing that he was two/three movies with Abdulah Sidran. Period!
It’s true that his best films were written by Sidran (in my opinion). But does that mean he doesn’t have talent as a director? I believe in the auteur theory to the extent that the best script in the world doesn’t mean a thing without a director interpreting it in a brilliant way. Scripts don’t film themselves, not even great ones.
Sure, Bobby, but topic here is politics, and Kusturica in this context is some bourgeoisie creep who acts like red neck copycat of Che! Don’t you think… and because I’m living in the same country with him, think that could be dangerous to continue this discussion. You know, all those gunmen and millions from Serbian state budget for saving the forests, bears, churches, etc.
Ok, that’s fine. I don’t want to defend (or attack) his politics. I don’t know enough about them for one. But if we divorce the films from this discussion, I think this thread will die pretty quickly. Maybe that’s ok too, because to my mind we’re not having an interesting discussion here.
Kenneth Turan in the LA Times, 1997 :
“For though what’s come to be called “Yugonostalgia” is a common feeling, actively promoting the preservation of Yugoslavia came to be viewed as trying to justify Serbian aggression. Also, the director’s diffidence toward Bosnia at a time when it was under merciless attack did not go over well back home.
In addition, many of the subtexts of “Underground,” like its blaming the country’s problems on the policies of Marshal Tito instead of Serbian self-aggrandizement, could be interpreted as legitimizing the war. The more Kusturica thought—possibly naively, possibly with calculation—that he was refusing to take sides, stepping outside of politics by distancing himself from the Muslim nationalist party that ruled Bosnia, the more his actions placed him in the Serb camp in the eyes of Sarajevo. And his having shot the film partly in Belgrade with a bit of Serbian financing did not help the situation.
All this contributed to nearly a year of bitter intellectual trench warfare about the film centered in the journals of Paris. One side saw the film as “a rock, postmodern, over-the-top, hip, Americanized version of the most driveling and lying Serbian propaganda.”
Then the other side responded, as Adam Gopnik reported in New Yorker magazine, that “the subject of the film wasn’t nationalism at all, but the consequences of Communism—that it wasn’t a national myth of Serbia but a transnational allegory of the post-Cold War period.” That in turn caused celebrated Austrian novelist Peter Handke, in an essay published in this country as “A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia,” to take yet a third tack and defend “Underground” precisely for its Serbian point of view.
. . .
As to why Kusturica made the moves he did, there are as many opinions as people. Defending him are filmmakers like Srdjan Dragonjevic, the Serbian director of “Pretty Village, Pretty Flame,” who says, “Kusturica did the right thing. Sarajevo expected he would stay and would make propaganda for Muslim people during the war. The artist has his own rights and his own place in the world. It’s not necessary to choose one side in a conflict; if you do that, you stop being an artist.”
In Sarajevo, however, Kusturica is reviled as careerist, narcissistic, vain, and—ironically given his insistence that he wanted to be outside of propaganda—his involvement in politics is cited by almost everyone as a cause of his downfall in esteem.
“Politics is fatal for cinema,” says Aco Staka, the dean of Yugoslavian critics, speaking the words in English to accent their importance. Staka’s son, former Sarajevo journalist Vladimir Staka, agrees but sees things in a wider perspective.
“The main reason is that people felt abandoned by him; he was the principal bearer of the Sarajevo spirit and he switched,” the younger Staka says. "If there was a lot of irrational reaction against him, one should understand the irrational situation we were in. During the war people identified with the government that was struggling to keep as many people alive as possible, and he gave numerous statements that were critical of the regime.
“If you’re an artist, you’ll do anything, you’ll sell your soul to the devil to get money to make movies. And now he bears a terrible mortgage in Sarajevo.”
This is a pretty interesting discussion, but I do find it extraordinarily bizarre that there a few on here trying to convince others of the inherent evil of the Serbian people; that is just sick thinking, no matter what your personal experiences are. And trying to bring up Serbian soccer hooligans- fucking ridiculous! Plenty of those shitbags in many a European nation.
As far as the 90s Balkan wars and the continuing issues there today go, in reality there is plenty of blame and shame to go all around for all to wallow in. I’ve always felt that the Serbs have been overly demonized and singularly blamed for every ethic problem that ever happens there by the world press, especially by Western Europe. Croatia’s human rights record during that time wasn’t exactly pretty, among others…
As for Kusturica, I will always love him to death for the amazing masterpiece that UNDERGROUND is, one of my all-time favorites, and BLACK CAT, WHITE CAT is one of the most funny and manic things ever made. Unfortunately, as far as I know, he hasn’t produced much worth a damn in the last decade or more. I don’t know much about his personal politics, and I ultimately don’t care all too much, but if he really is some right-wing Serbian nationalist, I do find that somewhat disappointing, as a fan. Underground is both hilariously entertaining and really intelligent. It romanticizes and is filled with nostalgia for the departed nation of Yugoslavia, but also makes quite clear that the nation was founded on repression and hypocritical deceptions; hence the whole extended and brilliant people in the “underground” metaphor. I think it pulls off that precarious balancing act awesomely. Its Serbian characters are both heroes and scoundrels, and they become more and more corrupted with the passage of time throughout the film, so its hard for me to believe he is some unthinking Serbian ultra-nationalist.
“I don’t know much about his personal politics, and I ultimately don’t care all too much, but if he really is some right-wing Serbian nationalist, I do find that somewhat disappointing, as a fan.”
This more or less describes how I feel as well. His politics (and his films’ politics) seem at the very least not to be a straightforward situation. As for the difference between his politics and his films, Bobby, I’m not so sure that the two can be very easily divorced in such a context (in one of pretty horrific violence in which the filmmaker in question is caught in the middle). I’m not sure how you can be apparently so interesting in Serbian film (haven’t you posted elsewhere to say that you’ve lived in the region), without being concerned with those larger issues. I generally feel that filmmakers have larger social and political responsibilities but I’m not exactly sure what that would mean in this context. At the very least, we’re not talking about a Nazi filmmaker making propaganda for Goebbels.
“Defending him are filmmakers like Srdjan Dragonjevic, the Serbian director of “Pretty Village, Pretty Flame,” who says, “Kusturica did the right thing. Sarajevo expected he would stay and would make propaganda for Muslim people during the war. The artist has his own rights and his own place in the world. It’s not necessary to choose one side in a conflict; if you do that, you stop being an artist.”
This quote also interests me. Dragojevic (article quoted from seems to have gotten his name wrong) is another filmmaker from that region I like quite a bit (especially Pretty Village, Pretty Flame and Rane which I find to be brilliant although I haven’t seen either in years). Is he also considered a Serbian nationalist?
Danis Tanović, for one, was somewhat critical of Pretty Village, Pretty Flame—“ethically problematic due to its shameful portrayal of the war in Bosnia.”
“Goran Bregovic ripping Balkan traditional music, tarafs, Turks, Gypsies…”
Nyman ripping off Britten, c’mon Pedja, it happens all the time…but it works in some cases ;)
It’s worse for Kusturica to pretend he knows music on a practical basis and another to attempt to mimic a person he’s been collaborating with so long! To tell the truth, I’ve always preferred Time of the Gypsies instead of Dolly Bell but maybe that’s just me who happens to sympathize with soaring epics, haha.
“Is he also considered a Serbian nationalist?”
Can we also say that for Paskaljevic who has been examining the Serbs even before Yugoslavia was split has Milosevic sentiments too? This whole “I put everyone on the same pot” is quite insulting to my intelligence and my anti-military passion.
“As far as the 90s Balkan wars and the continuing issues there today go”
We have to be aware they’re specifically named Yugoslav wars and NOT BALKANS. Balkans represents the philosophy of an entire region, from Greece and Bulgaria, to even Romania, you cannot combine Yugoslavia and Balkans as 1, it doesn’t make any sense, why do people have this tendency to connect Balkan with Yugoslavia alone and only when political / military turmoil occurs there?
The official example of Balkan Wars is this, read it and learn it.
Yugoslav Wars and Balkan Wars are completely different things!!!!
Left to right: Oliver Antic, dean of the Law Faculty in Belgrade, Mila Alečković, daughter of famous Yugoslav poet Mira, both strong nationalists and Nemanja K.