Walter Defends Sarajevo

The movie Walter defends Sarajevo broke the record of any box-office on the globe and surpassed the dreams of any movie producer. It was seen by 13 billion viewers, the largest audience ever.

The film story is based on the true personality of the Second War World, Walter Peric, the hero of anti-Nazi resistance. He was killed in action last day of the Second World War and immediately became a legend. Due to geo-political circumstances this Yugoslav film from 1972, by Bosnian director Siba Hajrudin Krvavac, became the most watched film of all the times. The reason was quite simple: this well-made action movie was one of the rare foreign films accepted by Chinese film board. It became the favourite of Chinese audience, seen statistically between 11-13 times by every citizen, and regularly shown during New Year holidays. The film was shown also internationally.

The main actor became a pop-icon in China and his face is on label of a Chinese beer branded Walter. In 1980s Yugoslav rock groups dedicated songs or albums to this hero. When the actor Bata Zivojinovic visited Beijing in 1990 he was awaited on the airport by the crowd of a one million fans.

Braco Dimitrijevic’s connection with this movie and its director is very personal and autobiographical. On the occasion of Braco Dimitrijevic’s first solo exhibition at the age of 10, director Siba Krvavac made in 1958, 20 min, 35 mm documentary Little Painter about Dimitrijevic as a child prodigy. The film was shown in cinemas around the country before main feature.

Braco Dimitrijevic was born in Sarajevo in 1948. From 1968 to 1971 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb; 1971-1973 post graduate studies at St Martin’s School of Art in London. He received the Major Award of Arts Council of Great Britain in 1978. In 1993 he was made Chevalier des Arts et de Lettres in France. He lives in Paris. Braco Dimitrijevic has had 160 solo exhibitions around the globe including shows at Tate Gallery, London; Ludwig Museum, Cologne; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; MUMOK, Vienna; Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg etc. This year the major retrospective of his work was held at GAM (Museum of Modern Art) in Turin. The long list of group exhibitions also includes three participations in documenta in Kassel (1972, 1977 and 1992), five participations in Venice Biennale (1976, 1982, 1990, 1993, 2009), São Paulo Biennale, Rhetorical Image at the New Museum, New York, Magiciens de la Terre at Centre G. Pompidou in Paris etc. This year he took part in Conceptual Art in Britain Tate Gallery London, Transmissions Museum of Modern Art New York. Currently he is exhibiting at ZKM Karlsruhe in Art in Europe 1945-1968. Dimitrijevic’s works are in 80 public collections including Tate Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musee National d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum Ludwig, Cologne etc.