Some important writers

Emir Kusturica worked with several authors, and planned to adapt others of them. Here are some information on them.

Ivo Andrić

Born Croatian, bosnian patriot, writing in Serbo-Croatian, diplomat and politician of Yugoslavia, Ivo Andrić (Dolac, close to Travnik, 1892 - Belgrade, 1975) wrote, next to his political carreer, an immense literary work.

Ivo Andrić was born in a poor catholic craftsmen family. Raised by franciscans, he studied history and literature in Zagreb, Vienna, Cracow and Graz, where he held a thesis on spiritual Life of Bosnia under the Turks in 1923. His first poems were released in 1911 in the review Bosanska vila (the bosnian Fairy) then in 1914 in the anthology Hrvatska mlada lirika (New Croatian Poetry).

His engagement in the revolutionary organization Young Bosnia and his standpoint allowed him to know during the First World War the Austrian jails and the exile which will give him inspiration for two books, Ex Ponto (1918) and Concerns (1920), where one can already find the topics which will mark all his work : human fragility, the tragic and often absurd destiny of men, evil under consideration form the side of "those who do it" as well as from the side "of those who undergo it", etc.

Form 1921 to 1941, Andrić was diplomat of the kingdom of Yugoslavia and was thus in 1941, as embassy secretary, co-signatory in Berlin of the germano-Yugoslavian pact .

Having chosen to return to Belgrade, he refused to agree with Nedic's regime, forbid the publication of his works during the Nazi occupancy and started to write two novels which will be released after the war The Bridge on the Drina evokes a small borough of Bosnia (where the author lived part of his childhood), Višegrad, located near the border of Serbia, where life is organized around this bridge. Crossing point of the Serb orthodox, Croatian catholic, Muslim and Jewish communities, it symbolizes perenniality and continuity in spite of the vicissitudes imposed by nature and men but also life "which wears unceasingly and exhausts and yet lasts and remains, unbreakable like the bridge on Drina". It also underlines the complexity of the bosnian identity. The Chronicle of Travnik (1945) is a rich story that describes the conflicts and the tragedies generated at the time of Napoleon by the arrival of a French consul in a small town of Eastern tradition, and is described like a place of confrontation between the East and the West, important topic to Andrić.

Convinced to the Yugoslav idea, Andrić entered to the Communist Party of Yugoslavia after the Second World war, became deputy in the National Assembly of the People's Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the federal Parliament of the federative socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, member of the redaction of several newspapers and, in 1946, member of the Serb Academy of Sciences and Arts, then president of the Association of Serb Writers.

Winner of several literary prices in Yugoslavia, Andrić obtained in 1961 the Nobel Prize of literature.

Among his many other stories, one can quote the Elephant of the vizier (1948), which evokes the relationship between the declining Ottoman administration and the bosnian population, and the History of serf Siman (1948) which occurs during the power transfer between the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian Empire. Titanic was adapted by Emir Kusturica in 1980.

Andrić, who had described the universality through his native Bosnia, spent the rest of his life in Belgrade.

Extract of the superb short story "A letter of 1920", describing Bosnia : "Because this poor and old-fashioned country where four different religions live together would require four times more love, mutual comprehension and tolerance than the other countries."

Official site :

Bibliography on :

Dušan Kovačević

Born in 1948, he is certainly the most well-known dramatic Serb author in his country as abroad. Author of twenty plays translated in more than fifteen languages, among which "Marathonians run their lap of honour", "Radovan III", "the balcanic spy", and the play "spring in January" which was used as a basis for Underground.

Dušan Kovačević : With Emir, I wrote sixteen versions of the scenario of Underground. That represents more than 2000 pages of text. When we agreed to make a film of it, I worked for more than three years. It is a kind of work one could not make any more today. We were a group of workaholics, directed by Kusturica, towards and against all the external pressures. When the industry of the cinema is computerized, this kind of craft industry is not possible any more .

Dušan Kovačević : We went on the basis of a story, that of my play, before the war burst but then, we could not avoid this subject. We were working on the scenario while all the events in the country occurred ; the third part of film became synchronous with the bursting of ex-Yugoslavia.

Bibliography on :

Abdulah Sidran

Abdulah Sidran was born in 1945 in Bieniesevo, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He quickly became one of the greatest poets of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also of all ex-Yugoslavia. Some of his collections marked the literary life of his country (Chahbase, Ars poetica, Testament of marvellous) and were partially translated into various languages. He is universally known as scenario writer of films of Emir Kusturica (When father was away on business, Do you remember Dolly Bell ?, but also Kuduz of Ademir Kenović).

The works of Abdulah Sidran are close to Sarajevo, multiethnic and multicultural Bosnia, his bosnian and Slavic origins of muslim source.

How not to make today a parallel between this famous poet who tried with his words to transcribe unnamable bosnian war and the drama of the kosovar people ? Why are the major cities of yesterday (Beirut, Sarajevo), examples of this perfect osmosis between the cultures, today ruins which we let burn without raising the small finger?
How not to be revolted against the perfidy of the man who unceasingly starts again his exactions?
How not to say by reading these verses that we are watching again and again the same film?


Immense est le monde, les continents dérivent
et le malheur sévit partout, mais ici les choses sont
différentes : au nord comme au sud,
la forêt embaume pareillement et cette fragrance
ne ressemble à rien qu'on ait entendu, vu ni touché.
En vain se dilatent les narines (pour l'embryon,
le ventre de sa mère n'aurait-il pas justement cette odeur ?)
Odeur de Rien, qui de la même voix pleure et chante
car l'amour et le malheur ont ici le même visage,
tout est semblable. Aux portes de la ville,
des sentinelles saisies d'effroi, des sentinelles
qui dorment debout (portées sur une aile invisible),
mais une voix, toujours la même, les fait sursauter :
Sarajevo, la foudre t'anéantisse ! A nouveau
quelqu'un m'appelle à l'aide.
Le désespéré ou le sage, l'enfant, l'aventurier ou le voyou
devant moi réconciliés ! Tout est un, tout revient au même.
Je suis une île au coeur du monde.
Rien ne m'atteint hormis son sang alangui, hormis
la peur qui plane au-dessus de nous tous.
Le silence, et rien alentour.

Gordan Mihić

Gordan Mihić was born in Mostar in 1938. After studies of literature in Belgrade, he started to work in 1957 as a journalist at the Borba daily newspaper.

At the beginning of his brilliant career of scenario writer, Gordan Mihić was a journalist of investigation and had the rigour and precision of the work of chronicler, but always also quite a creative curiosity.

Mihić is just a beginning journalist when it hears the call of the cinema and the very young television so that he starts to write for the small and the big screen. At the beginning, he works with his colleague Ljubisa Kozomara of the Borba daily newspaper. Together they write the scenarii of nine significant and daring films, in particular the two masterpieces of Zivojin Pavlovic, When I Am Dead and White and Rat's Awakening. Together, they make their beginnings as directors for the cinema with Vrane/Crows, one of the major films of the Yugoslavian Black Wave. Later, Mihić was to turn three other. He signed more than forty scenarios, among which The Dog Who Liked Trains, The Deceptive Summer of 68, and Someone else's America, all three directed by Goran Paskaljević, but it is with Emir Kusturica that his collaboration will be the most brilliant, with the Time of the gypsies, Black Cat White Cat and more recently Hungry Heart.

His wife, Vera Cucik, is an actress who has much success on stage and on the small screen. His daughter, Ivana Mihić, followed not only the traces of her mother, but is also, among the young producers of the country, one of keenest to work.