Hintergründe zu „Kiss the Future“
A Story of People Vs. Power
For many years, Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, was the picture of a cosmopolitan city. Ethnically and religiously diverse, with a thriving artistic scene, it was somewhere everybody could find their place. That’s what made it a threat to Slobodan Milošević. When Yugoslavia broke up in 1990 and Bosnia declared its independence, Serbian president Milošević determined to crush Sarajevo to demonstrate his authority and take what he believed was Serbia’s rightful territory. His army surrounded the city and so began a siege that lasted from 1992 to 1996, the longest in the history of modern warfare. The siege cost 11,541 Sarajevan people their lives, but the city refused to ever give up in the face of tyranny, even as the outside world delayed coming to their aid.
To anybody living a quiet life in a peaceful country, it’s an unimaginable situation. And that’s exactly how it felt to the people of Sarajevo. It was all impossible to believe, until suddenly it wasn’t. “I think something like this is always unimaginable,” says Nenad Cicin-Sain, director of “Kiss The Future”. “It was like if the southern United States went to war with the north – today, not 200 years ago. Something that just seemed impossible.” Cicin-Sain, who has a Serbian mother and a Croatian father, spent his early childhood in Yugoslavia and lived with his father in Croatia, which neighbours Bosnia, during the war. He vividly remembers that time. “I remember driving to visit a friend in Bosnia, going down roads and my whole car vibrating because I was going over tank tracks,” he says. “The buildings were all full of bullet holes and covered in graffiti saying, ‘Leave our children alone’.”
Cicin-Sain remembered well that Bono and his band U2 had a key role in boosting morale in Sarajevo during the war. U2, a band formed in Dublin, Ireland during the time of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, had a long history of singing about and highlighting global injustice, speaking up for the oppressed. While the war was going on in Bosnia, U2 were touring the world with their Zoo TV show. In an effort to highlight the plight of the Sarajevan people, they broadcast live interviews with Sarajevan residents during their shows and vowed to come to Sarajevo to perform for them as soon as they could. On 23rd September 1997, they made good on that promise, performing to 45,000 fans at Koševo Stadium, with the support acts including Bosnian groups Gazi Husrev-beg choir, Protest, and Sikter. Held around two years after the siege ended, it was a moment to show that this city had not been beaten. Once again, people of different ethnicities and religions – who Milošević had tried to break apart – were standing and living side by side. One people singing with one voice.
The People Of Sarajevo
At the heart of “Kiss The Future” are the Sarejevan people, who showed that there is nothing stronger than the human spirit. Before the siege, they had been living like any other cosmopolitan city where everyone was accepted. “The Bosnian population before the war was about 4.1 million and about 500,000 people lived in mixed marriages,” says Senad Zaimović. “It was really multicultural.”
“And it was not just multicultural in terms of religion,” adds Vesna Andree Zaimović, “but in how we expressed ourselves through different kinds of culture, like pop music and contemporary art.”
When the siege began, everything changed overnight. “You had to learn quickly how to live surrounded by snipers and how to survive in a basement with no electricity, no water,” says Andree Zaimović. “It was always how to survive.” When the war began, Serbian military wanted to break up any mixed families. Senad and Vesna were at the beginning of their relationship and faced challenges from soldiers because Vesna is Catholic and Senad, though agnostic, has a Muslim name. “They would ask, ‘What are you doing with him?’” says Andree Zaimović. “These military, they couldn’t understand how we could live together, love each other regardless of religion or nationality.” They let nothing part them. “We were in love,” says Andree Zaimović. “We were going through this at the beginning of our love life.” “Kiss The Future” shows the powerful ways in which that love grew and persisted through the war.
A Story For Every Era
For those in front of and behind the camera, making “Kiss The Future” was a challenging experience, but one that everyone felt was important because it’s not just speaking about one moment in the past. It’s speaking about something that has happened throughout history and still happens today: authoritarians trying to oppress people and those people refusing to give up. “It’s unfortunate that this story is still relevant,” says Sarah Anthony. “I don’t think the message that music and art can inspire people to survive is ever not relevant.”
The film confronts awful things that people went through and asks its audience to consider why history keeps repeating itself, but its hopeful message is that there is nothing stronger than people coming together and refusing to give up.