MACBA MUSEUM UNTIL JANUARY 9, 2012
Two films set in the same city, using the same footage, characters and soundtrack, and screened on floor 1 and 2 of the Macba museum (swing to the left and to the end of the corridor as you come up the stairs) show two dramatic representations of the four-year siege of Sarajevo by Serb forces in the 1990s. Each film is around 45 minutes long. 1395 Days Without Red, a project by Šejla Kamerić and Anri Sala (click on names to find Macba’s notes on both films), co-produced by the Macba and the London-based collective Artangel was originally meant to be a single film, before disagreements led to the artists editing separate versions. For my review click here. For my preview
From 1992 to 1996, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina was held under siege by Serb forces. It became the epicentre of a slow war in which the population of the city was reduced by an estimated 10,000, which included around 1,500 children. Artist and filmmaker Šejla Kamerić was born in Sarajevo in 1976, and lived through the siege in her late teens. Anri Sala, born in 1974, grew up under Albanian communism. The films recreate the state of fear and grim stoicism with which citizens went about their daily lives under constant threat. Warned to dress as unobtrusively as possible, pedestrians were picked out indiscriminately by snipers. Filmed in present day Sarajevo, both versions are set to the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, the Pathétique, played as a stop-start rehearsal by the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the American Ari Benjamin Meyers. Many ordinary Sarajevans take part in the films all old enough to have experienced the siege first hand. Spanish actress Maribel Verdú is the main focus. She appears as solitary as everyone else, who follow an infamous route known as ‘sniper’s alley,’ where pedestrians trying to cross open spaces became indiscriminate targets.