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Ponts de Sarajevo (Les)

Les Ponts de Sarajevo [Bridges of Sarajevo] is a documentary anthology film directed by thirteen different directors. 1) It was selected to be shown in the Special Screenings section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.2)

Les Ponts de Sarajevo is produced at the initiative of Obala Art Center/Sarajevo City of Film and French production house Cinétévé in coproduction with partners from Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria.

Les Ponts de Sarajevo

The short films included in the omnibus are directed by: Aida Begić, Leonardo Di Costanza, Jean-Luc Godard, Kamen Kalev, Isild Le Besco, Sergei Loznitsa, Vincenzo Marra, Ursula Meier, Vladimir Perišić, Cristi Puiu, Marc Recha, Angela Schanelec and Teresa Villaverde. The film is produced by Mirsad Purivatra, Jovan Marjanović and Fabienne Servan Schreiber.

Francois Schuiten worked also on this project together with Luís Da Matta Almeida, making an animated film that connects all the short films.

(Top row L-R) Director Kamen Kalev, Leonardo Di Costanzo, Marc Recha, (front row L-R) Ursula Meier, Isild Le Besco, Jean-Michel Frodon, Francois Schuiten, Aida Begic, Teresa Villaverde, Vincenzo Marra, Angela Schanelec, Vladimir Perisic and Luis da Matta Almeida attend the 'The Bridges Of Sarajevo' photocall during the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2014 in Cannes, France.

Les Ponts de Sarajevo commemorates the outbreak of WW I taking the city of Sarajevo as a starting point 3). “Most of the contributions will be documentary or essay-type films, but I am one of a couple of filmmakers who will be making a fiction film,” says Ursula Meier, one of the 13 directors 4).

Sara e a Sua Mãe - Teresa Villaverde

As a title for a film that will presumably center on the Bosnia and Herzegovina capital’s tinderbox role in bringing down Europe’s house of cards in 1914, “Les Ponts de Sarajevo” (“The Bridges of Sarajevo”) is rueful, though also hopeful if the idea of building bridges is understood as a metaphor for the cementing of national friendships. It will be interesting to see of some of the selected directors invoke or address the 1992-95 Bosnian War 5).

Of Sarajevo’s 10 celebrated bridges, its oldest — the Ottoman-built Latin Bridge, which existed by 1541 and was rebuilt in 1798-99 — is the one with the greatest historical resonance. At its northern end on June 28, 1914, the Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip approached the car carrying Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, and shot them both dead from a distance, he later said, of “four or five paces.” 6)

My Dear Night, Les Ponts de Sarajevo (c) Anastas Petkov

After a month of diplomatic wrangling, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28; that night its warships bombarded Belgrade. Russia mobilized in support of Serbia on the 29th. Germany mobilized against France on the 30th. On August 2, Germany declared war on Russia and invaded Belgium, causing Britain to declare war on Germany on August 4. The four-year conflagration that followed is estimated to have caused between nine and 15 million deaths 7).

Following the world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it had a special screening, Les Ponts de Sarajevo was presented to the Sarajevo audiences on June 27 2014 as part of ceremonies to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. The film was also included in the program of the 20th Sarajevo Film Festival before its distribution in cinemas throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The omnibus had been supported by numerous European foundations and TV broadcasters, while its partners in B&H included the Sarajevo Heart of Europe Foundation, Mission Centenaire, the French Institute in B&H and Center Andre Malraux. 8)

Trailer Bridges of Sarajevo

The French trailer of Les Ponts de Sarajevo with English subtitles.

Animated sequences

Francois Schuiten worked also on this project together with Luís Da Matta Almeida, making an animated film that connects all the short films.


See also