Danis Tanović (Zenica, Bosnia Erzegovina, 1969)
Danis Tanović is a director, screenwriter and producer. Raised in Sarajevo, where he graduated from the Conservatory in 1992, following the outbreak of the war Tanović was forced to leave university and his film studies. By himself, he began filming the besieged city and soon became a war reporter for the Bosnian army, collecting a large amount of documentary footage. In 1994, Tanović left Sarajevo for two years and moved to Brussels, where he completed his studies and shot some documentaries, including L’aube (1996) and Buđenje (Awakening, 1999). The Serbian-Bosnian war is at the centre of his brilliant debut film, No Man’s Land (2001), in which two soldiers of the opposing factions find themselves isolated and stuck between enemy lines, triggering a sort of role-playing that lays bare the absurdity, inhumanity and the grotesque of war. Written, directed and scored by Tanović himself, the film won the Palme d’Or and the European Film Award for the best screenplay and the Oscar for best foreign film. In 2005 he shot L’enfer, the second instalment of a trilogy written by Krzystof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz: a reinterpretation of Euripides’ Medea which delves into a family drama through the faces of Emmanuelle Béart, Karin Viard, Marie Gillain, Marie Golein, Carole Bouquet and Jean Rochefort. The story of the post-war trauma of a photojournalist, starring Colin Farrel, Paz Vega and Christopher Lee, Triage (2009), was presented in competition at the Rome Film Festival. The following year, with Cirkus Columbia, presented at the Venice Days in Venice, Tanović returned to Bosnia with a surreal and slightly nostalgic comedy that outlines the human dynamics of a small village on the eve of the war. In 2013, through Epizoda u životu berača željeza (An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker), a sort of docu-fiction portraying a Roma family, he exposed public health problems in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina and won the Jury Grand Prix at the Berlin festival; the following year, Tigers (2014), based on a true story set in Pakistan, condemns the overwhelming power of multinational pharma companies. The film production process took eight years due to the possible legal implications of the subject matter, but it eventually made it to the Toronto film festival. The portrait of the mother country continued with Smrt u Sarajevu (Death In Sarajevo, 2016), inspired by Bernard-Henri Lévy’s work and entirely shot inside the microcosm of a luxury hotel where conflicts, violence and abuses run rampant among the staff: an explicit allusion to the situation of a defeated country, trapped in eternal anticipation of rebirth that never came. In 2019, Tanović finally ventured into television directing the crime series Uspjeh (Success); written by screenwriter Marjan Alčevski, the series was the first European production by HBO. In 2020, The Postcard Killings, a thriller starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a detective looking for his daughter’s murderer, was released in the United States. In 2021, during the pandemic, Tanović made Deset u pola (Not So Friendly Neighborhood Affair), a bittersweet comedy shot on the streets of Sarajevo with Branko Đurić, former lead actor of No Man’s Land. The film premiered at the 27th Sarajevo Film Festival. Currently, Tanović is in the post-production phase of the first season of a new crime series, Kotlina, created for the BH Content Lab platform.