Gori Vatra - Fuse!

Picture of
This film directed by Pjer Zalica was the best shown at the 2005 Global Lens Film Festival. It is now available on dvd in the USA courtesy of First Run Features. It includes a video introduction by the director.

Fuse is set in Tesanj, a Bosnian town close to the Serbian border, two years after the civil war officially ended. Corruption and hatred are palpable and most townfolk are engaged in one type of illegal activity or another. Somehow, Tesanj becomes part of President Clinton's itinerary through the region; the town stands to benefit in the form of infrastructure improvements and investment opportunities. This would require hiding the vice and corruption from a visiting international team, and cooperation among enemies to organize activities. Fuse is a drama with strong satiric tones. Among the principals: Zaim, the former police chief who spends his days drinking and talking to the ghost of his deceased son; Zaim's other son is a firefighter whose girlfriend returned from exile in Germany and stepped on a mine; there's Velija, a smuggler/pimp/dealer of illegal substances, and his sensitive and sweet accomplice Pic. They are in cahoots with police chief Mugdin, whose border connections come in handy. The encounters between these characters and uptight international overseers are hilarious yet there's plenty of pathos and poignancy amid the laughs. As the visit approaches, a children's choir learns "House of the Rising Sun", prostitutes try on uniforms and learn show tunes, American flags are made, Bosnian and Serbian fire departments merge temporarily, and an artist paints a portrait of Clinton. But, will it be possible to hide entrenched traditions of crime, corruption and ethnic conflict?

Festivals & awards

Leopard d'argent Locarno 2003
Etoile d'Or am Marrakesh Filmfestival
Grand prix am Festival de Sarajevo,
bester Film und Publikumspreis 2003
Toronto Filmfestival 2003
Zagreb Filmfest 2003
Special Jury Award
Best Actor at Amiens IFF (France)
Best Film and Best Actor at Marrakech IFF.


Original Title
Gori Vatra - Fuse!
Gori Vatra - Fuse!
Directed by
Pjer Zalica
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Pjer Zalica
Film Editing
Almir Kenovic
Sasa Losic
Mirsad Herovic
Marton Jankov
Amela Vilic
Production Design
Kemal Hrustanovic
Refresh Production, Sarajevo
35mm, DVD
105 min.
Enis Beslagic (Faruk), Bogdan Diklic (Zaim), Sasa Petrovic (Husnija), Izudin Bajrovic (Mugdim), Jasna Zalica (Hitka), Senad Basic (Velija)

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Date(s) of screening Screening(s)

Press voices

"Regisseur Zalica sorgt mit bizarrer Komik fĂŒr Spannung. Zudem begeistern die Intelligenz der Dialoge und der Situationsbeschreibungen."

"Die Geschichte eines kleinen bosnischen Dorfes, das versucht, anlÀsslich eines Besuchs von PrÀsident Clinton Korruption und Misstrauen, aber auch die Traumata des Krieges hinter sich zu lassen, bezaubert durch seine Mischung aus skurril-witziger Figurenzeichnung und abgrundtiefer Hoffnungslosigkeit."

"Der schwarze Humor aus Bosnien hat die Festivaliers verzaubert. Auf den Ruinen des alten Jugoslawiens stimmt er zu einem Lied der Hoffnung an mit leichter Ironie, die zu enthusiastischen StĂŒrmen fĂŒhrte in Locarno."
Le Temps

"Regisseur Pjer Zalica schlĂ€gt einen melancholischen Ton an, der immer wieder von satirischen Momenten gebrochen wird. Gerade die bizarre Komik sorgt fĂŒr Spannung. Das macht die kleine Geschichte zu einer grossen Tragikomödie."
ORF Wien

"Gori Vatra" - Tragikomischer Optimismus nach dem Krieg.

Warmherzig, brandaktuell und zĂŒndend.
NZZ Ticket

Der Film wird in seinen ganz unterschiedlichen, doch prÀzise gesetzten Tonlagen und glÀnzenden Dialogen in der Schwebe gehalten.
NZZ am Sonntag

Zalica erzĂ€hlt vom Kleinen und vom Grossen, von Pampers, Krieg und Frieden. FĂŒr die tragikomische RealitĂ€t seiner Heimat hat er die perfekte Form gefunden.
Der Bund

Eine mal heitere, mal traurige, aber stets zĂ€rtliche Geschichte ĂŒber den Zustand, der "Frieden" genannt wird.

Director?s statement
I have shot a dozen films in Bosnia and all of them dealt with the war. Some of them were well-received and brought me praise and prizes. Everyone remarked on the courage and authenticity of what we had done. However, making films about the horror I saw around me made me ill: the dead, the blood and the interminable and futile arguments as to who was to blame and who was responsible. I would have liked to make films about peace... which finally arrived, and I continued to make films. I then discovered that peace can be worse than war. Now, I have understood, as have many before me, the tragi-comic optimism which gives the human spirit its inexplicable force and enables it to see the dreadful war and the bitter peace for what they are. The ability and courage to laugh and to find humour in the face of difficulties, even when life at its most painful refuses to improve, helps us to survive and to continue to have faith in the future.