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Sarajevo Songs of Woe

Fred Kelemen
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany 2016 / 140’
Fallen The Man From London

Three melancholy songs from contemporary Sarajevo, where Fred Kelemen spent years teaching at Film Factory, the film school founded by Béla Tarr. The black-and-white Blue Ballad for Lovers is about the difficult relationship between two lovers: a director who takes his camera into the city every day and a disabled girl who is dependent on him. Perhaps the young man's film impressions are love letters to a woman with whom he cannot otherwise communicate, or perhaps they are a form of escape from a stifling relationship. The protagonists in Blue Psalm for Wolves are homeless dogs in Sarajevo observed at night in backstreets and on the outskirts of town. This is a poignant examination of loneliness in a crowd, the story of human cruelty and indifference, about how every downfall is somehow similar. In Blue Rondo for Survivors, Kelemen subtly scratches old war wounds. A former soldier returns from the exile that he was condemned to by the memory of the crimes he committed, and he is trying to make contact with the family he abandoned, as well as with his own trauma, the war and its related passions. 

Agnieszka Szeffel

Fred Kelemen

Fred Kelemen is a director, cinematographer, and producer. Born in 1964 in West Berlin, he studied painting, music, philosophy, religion, and theater. Before beginning his film studies (dffb) in Berlin in 1989, he worked as an assistant director at a number of theaters. He graduated from university with a diploma in Direction and Cinematography. His diploma film, Fate, received a German Film Award in 1995. He has worked as a cinematographer in collaboration with a number of directors, including Joseph Pitchhadze, Béla Tarr, Rudolf Thome, and Gariné Torossian. Since 2000, has directed several theater productions in Germany. He conducts workshops and gives lectures at universities around the world.


1993 Kalyi - czas mroku / Kalyi - Zeit der finsternis / Kalyi - Age of Darkness

1994 Przeznaczenie / Verhängnis / Fate

1997 Mróz / Frost

1999 Zmierzch / Abendland / Nightfall

2005 Upadek / Krisana / Fallen

2016 Sarajewa pieśni o nieszczęściu / Sarajevo Songs of Woe

Cast & Crew

director Fred Kelemen
screenplay Fred Kelemen
cinematography Fred Kelemen (DoP), Andreea Dobre, Irfan Brković, Dario Sekulowski, Orlin Stanchew, Radu Voinea, Naum Doksevski, Ana-Maria Draghici, Flóra Fecske, Claudia Kovács, Lev Predan Kowarski
editing Fred Kelemen, Friederike Schuchardt, Annett Ilijew
music Zoe Polanski
cast Edin Avdagić, Balázs Bodolai, Iskra Jirsak, Ivana Pavlakovikj, Jovana Stojiljković, Szandra Guary, Iulia Ciochina, Doroteja Nadrah, Katarina Nikšić, Blaž Setnikar, Aja Štukan, Slaven Došlo, Sorin Dobrin
producer Fred Kelemen
sales Kino Kombat
language English, Bosnian
colouration colour & b&w