'Walter Defends Sarajevo" Museum to open in the capital

NEWS 02.04.2019 13:36
Source: Anadolija

On April 6th, the Day of Sarajevo, the first film museum in Bosnia will open its doors, dedicated to the 1970’s cult film Walter Defends Sarajevo about the resistance to the Nazi occupation during WWII in the capital.

“Shooter calls Condor,” “I am waiting for you near the Bey’s Mosque at Five,” and the password “The air is flashing as if the sky is burning, a storm is coming” are sentences that are engraved into the minds of Sarajevans, but also of many throughout the region.

The film Walter Defends Sarajevo is based on the life of one of the organisers of the underground resistance against the Nazi occupiers during WWII, Walter Peric.

Anadolu Agency spoke to the director of the new museum, Jasmin Durakovic, in one of the museum’s rooms set up as a replica of the watchmaker shop where the Sarajevan members of the resistance, the ‘illegals’, would gather to hatch their plans.

The film ‘Walter Defends Sarajevo’ is not only a classic but also “a lot more than that,” he said.

“It is in a way a symbol of the city of Sarajevo, not only because of the film itself but because of its background story,” he said.

The largest room in the museum is a replica of the underground bunker where top Nazi officials met and announced operation ‘Laufer’ at the beginning of the movie.

Apart from numerous replicas, such as of German WWII uniforms, and even some original pieces from the set, the organisers added wax figures of the actors in the museum.

Durakovic said there is a plan for the museum to become part of a ‘Walter Defends Sarajevo’ tourist tour.

“We had to engage all those people who are part of the film industry. Screenwriters, costume designers, model makers, cameramen, lighting designers, wigmakers, make up artists,” Durakovic explained.

“In that sense, it was complex, as you need to put everything together into a unique concept,” he said.

The museum is also meant as a monument to filmmaker Hajrudin Siba Krvavac.

“This entire story about the museum would not be happening if it wasn’t for the film, and the film would have not happened if it wasn’t for Siba Krvavac,” Durakovic said, adding that while others, such as the actors and the film crew, are all important, “the author and the director is number one.”

Durakovic said that he was seven years old when Walter Defends Sarajevo first aired.

“All of us who grew up in Bosnia during those years simply experienced that film as something completely different than we had seen until that point. It was a time of ideology, a time of socialism and communism in former Yugoslavia,” he said.

But Walter Defends Sarajevo is, according to Durakovic, not so much a film about ideology, but rather “a classical action film in which you have the good guys and the bad guys.”

The film was also huge in China, where, according to some estimates, it was viewed more than a billion times. Durakovic expects a lot of Chinese tourists.

“There is interest, we already have announcements by some Chinese tourist agencies,” he said, adding that there are ongoing talks with China-based producers who want to work on a remake of the film.

“I think that when someone find out a bit more about this city comes to Sarajevo from outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina, outside of this region or Europe, the story of this movie is unavoidable. Through this film you can find out a small part of the secret of Sarajevo, why Sarajevo is a city that persists and why it is so interesting on the world map,” he said.

Durakovic also said he wants the museum to be dedicated to the citizens of Sarajevo who have emotional ties to the film.