5 Bosnian Films You Need to See

Andrea Hak

In 2014, the Sarajevo Film Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary. While gaining widespread fame, becoming the largest such event in Southeast Europe and promoting the work of regional artists, the festival also reflects the essential role that cinema has come to play in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Meanwhile, we bring you a list of the five Bosnian films you need to see in order to understand the country’s complex culture.
During the siege of Sarajevo from 1992-1996 residents of the Bosnian capital became trapped between warring factions while living under continual shelling with scarce water, food, electricity and medical supplies. In spite of this constant terror, artists, musicians, writers, actors and filmmakers fought a peaceful revolution against the ethnically motivated violence surrounding them, and attempted to promote the city’s cosmopolitan culture through art. Residents often risked their lives to attend the numerous plays, concerts and films shown during the war, including the first Sarajevo Film Festival, which bore the title Beyond the End of the World. Filmmakers have continued to play an important role in Bosnia’s transition by confronting atrocities and aiding in the creation of a common historical memory.

Loved by over 40s

The Perfect Circle (1997)

Ademir Kenović’s The Perfect Circle was one of the first films about the Bosnian conflict to receive international recognition. The story revolves around the figure of an alcoholic Bosnian poet who, after sending his wife and daughter abroad, decides to stay in Sarajevo and await death. Upon befriending two orphaned boys, the protagonist finds a renewed desire to survive and attempts to unite the boys with their aunt. In 1997, the film won both the François Chalais Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Grbavica: The Land of my Dreams (2006)

Filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić’s films have been influential in confronting the sensitive topic of the mass rape and torture of women during the Bosnian conflict and its consequences. In Grbavica: The Land of my Dreams a single mother struggles to make ends meet while avoiding questions from her teenage daughter about her father’s death. The film won awards for best film and peace film at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2006.

For Those Who Can Tell No Tales (2013)

Žbanić’s more recent film For Those Who Can Tell no Tales follows the journey of an Australian tourist who experiences acute depression during her stay at a spa hotel in Visegrad. After discovering that the hotel had been a detention center for women during the war she begins to investigate, further uncovering the town’s concealed past. In both films Žbanić demonstrates how society’s failure to recognise the victims of sexual violence during the war has impacted the country’s healing process. While films like these serve to bring this issue out into the open, the subject continues to be taboo with many victims facing stigmatisation within their communities. It was only in 2008 that the UN Security Council recognised that, ‘rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide,’ signaling the long road ahead to universal recognition.

No Man’s Land (2001)

Arguably the most famous film to come out of Bosnia, Danis Tanović’s No Man’s Land conveys the anger, frustration, emotion and helplessness felt during the conflict by using a combination of satire and drama. Rather than having a central character, the story follows UN peacekeepers, journalists and three rival soldiers who get caught in the middle of a battlefield. This method is particularly effective in capturing different perspectives on the conflict creating a film that overcomes the potential for a one-sided account. The film won Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards and Best Screenplay at the European Film Academy Awards and Cannes Film Festival in 2001.

An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (2013)

Having already won a number of awards at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, Tanović’s latest film An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker promises to be another important film for Bosnian cinema. Unlike the others, this film departs from the topic of the Bosnian conflict and instead highlights the issue of contemporary discrimination against the Roma community in Bosnia. The film recounts the story of a Roma woman who, lacking health insurance, is unable to receive medical attention after a miscarriage. One of the most unique aspects of the film is that the actors are actually playing themselves enabling the film to capture the thoughts and feelings of the protagonists. Though the film is focused on the Roma community in Bosnia, it echoes the discrimination that’s felt across Europe, thus widening the film’s international relevance.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.