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06 Nov 12

'Walter Defends Sarajevo' Documentary Premiered

A new documentary on the history, impact and context of the iconic 1972 Yugoslav movie, "Walter Defends Sarajevo" was premiered in Belgrade.

Danilo Lucic
BIRN Belgrade

A documentary on the history of one of the most-watched Yugoslav war films of all time had its first showing on Sunday in Belgrade in the city's Sava Centar.

The movie, directed by Andrej Acin, explores the relationship of the myth created by the original 1972 film, and the real-life war hero, Vladimir Peric "Walter", played by Yugoslav movie star Velimir Bata Zivojinovic in "Walter Defends Sarajevo".

Acin said the aim of the documentary was to find out why Walter had such an effect on popular culture in Yugoslavia in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as in China and in countries behind the Iron Curtain.

In "Walter – Myth, Legend, Hero", Zivojinovic explains how playing the role of the Partisan hero, Walter, affected his personal life and career, how his action hero became iconic in China and what it represents nowadays.

The documentary also throws light on the social and political context in which "Walter Defends Sarajevo" was made, and its place among other Yugoslav war movies based on the Partisan struggle.

"Walter Defends Sarajevo", directed by Hajrudin Krvavac and written by Djordje Lebovic, had a great impact on the film industry all over Balkans, becoming the first Yugoslav blockbuster.

It had a great reception in China, making Zivojinovic so popular in the country that a beer brand called "Walter" was marketed there with his picture on the label.

Chinese state television reported on the Belgrade premiere of "Walter – Myth, Legend, Hero". Sadly, Zivojinovic was not able to attend owing to poor health.

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