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Serbia aims to draw in moviemakers from China


06-15-2016 00:42 BJT

Chinese audience are familiar with many films from the former Yugoslavia, such as 'Walter Defends Sarajevo' and 'Bridge', which were quite popular in the 1970s. But what do people in the nations that emerged from that country in the years after the Cold War know about movies from this part of the world? One way to find out, is by heading to Serbia.

'Walter Defends Sarajevo' was one of the most popular movies ever made in the former Yugoslavia. And when the film was screened in China in 1974, it quickly captured the hearts of the Chinese audience. Serbian actor Ljubisa Samardzic, who starred in the classic, calls it the greatest role of his career.

"This movie is about the heroic defense of the Bosnian capital in World War II, when Marshal Tito's Partizans fought the German occupation forces. It shows the city's determination to resist conquest. It's a great movie," said Ljubisa Samardzic Serbian actor.

The golden days are now gone, and the Serbian film industry is facing a decline in prosperity. But the country has found another way forward -- by building more and more studios aimed at attracting foreign moviemakers. And with lower costs, these facilities are even bringing in Hollywood production teams.

"In movies, it's always about money," said Barbara Sandic PFI studios executive director.

These studios are also hoping to draw in Chinese filmmakers, as the country's cinematic industry has grown rapidly in recent years. And for Serbian audiences, movies from China, especially Kung Fu flicks like Zhang Yimou's 'Hero' and 'House of Flying Daggers', are also appealing as they offer a window to learning about Chinese culture as insight into how history is reflected on the silver screen.

"Historicism in Chinese movies is very important for us. In Chinese movies, you see the struggle between good and evil, old and new. We want to see how you deal with these. So these two movies by Zhang Yimou are very important to us. Maybe they are the most famous movies in Serbia," said Oleg Jeknic Serbian movie critic.

And with political ties between China and Serbia strengthening, the two countries have reached a new framework on increasing bilateral cooperation in radio, film, and television projects. A Chinese Film Week will be held in Belgrade in mid-June, with a diverse set of films from the country set for screening.

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