Born in Zenica, Bosnia, in 1969, and raised in Sarajevo where he graduated from the Conservatory in 1992, following the outbreak of the war Danis 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 Beudenje (1999). The Serbian-Bosnian war is at the center 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-play that lays bare the absurdity, inhumanity and the grotesque of war. Written, directed and scored by Tanović himself, the 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 installment of a trilogy written by Krzystof Kieslowski 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, this time with a surreal and slightly nostalgic comedy which outlines the human dynamics of a small village on the eve of the war. In 2013, through 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 portrait of the mother country continued with Death In Sarajevo (2016), inspired by a work by Bernard-Henri Lévy and completely 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 the eternal expectation of a rebirth that never came.
In 2019, Tanović finally ventured into a television production, creating the crime series Uspjeh (Success), the first European product by HBO.
Danis Tanović will attend the Festival.