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11 Apr 14

Chinese To Film Remake of Cult Sarajevo Movie

Owing to the popularity in China of the movie 'Walter Defends Sarajevo', set in World War Bosnia, the Chinese have announced they intend to film a new version.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN Sarajevo

A Chinese film company, China Star Media, on April 10 said that, with the aid of the Bosnia Federation Culture Ministry, it will be remaking the cult movie Walter Defends Sarajevo originally directed by Bosnian film director Hajrudin Krvavac in 1972.

“Sarajevo has been in my heart for 40 years since the film was screened in China for the first time,” said Bing Xiang, director of China Star Media.

“Some 1.3 billion people now live in China and half of them have seen Walter Defends Sarajevo,” he added. “It is our goal to awaken the young generation with Walter, the same way it awoke us."

This movie showed the heroic defence of the Bosnian capital in World War II when Josip Tito's Partizans fought the German occupation forces. Many see the spirit of the film as having represented the city's determination to resist conquest in more recent times, too.

The spirit of "Walter" is often evoked to describe the will power of Sarajevans to defend themselves in general from any kinds of evil.

Xiang predicted that many Chinese tourists would want to visit Sarajevo once the remake is finished.

The project has been estimated to cost some 3.5 million euro and the actors will be Bosnian while the director will be Chinese.

Adis Bakrac, director of Film Center Sarajevo, said that Bosnian crews will help the Chinese with the filming.  

“We expect a start on filming in 2015 and will work on the post-production during 2016,” Bakrac said.

“We insisted on our Center participating in the project with suggestions and in the presentation of the project,” he added.

In the original movie, the German troops try in vain to disable the Sarajevo resistance movement, led by the mysterious Walter.

One of the best-known scenes in the movie is when a German officer and an official from the Gestapo talk, and the army officer concludes they will not find the mysterious Walter.

Instead, he shows the Gestapo man a panorama of Sarajevo and says: “Do you see this city? This is Walter!”

Walter Defends Sarajevo was one of the most popular movies ever made in the former Yugoslavia. The character of Walter is believed to based on Vladimir Peric Valter who served in the underground Yugoslav intelligence.

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