Sarajevo Songs of Woe
Sarajevo Songs of Woe

Sarajevo Songs of Woe

Director Fred Kelemen

Production year 2016

Length 140min.

Country Bosnia and Herzegovina/Germany


"SARAJEVO SONGS OF WOE" is a filmic triptych containing of the two tales "Blue Ballad for Lovers" and "Blue Rondo for Survivors" and the documentary middle part "Blue Psalm for Wolves". They are flowing into each other and so building up a universal mosaic of fragmented life situated in the town of Sarajevo. The camera follows different protagonists and interweaves with their cinematic round-dance of hope and despair, love and death and their quest for a dignified life which is fragilely stretched between the desire for the warmth of love and the coldness of our civilisation's  reality. 

"BLUE BALLAD FOR LOVERS" At the same spot, where Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria 100 years afore, a young foreigner is standing shooting moments of random beauty with his video camera.
Torn up by his endangered love for his  seriously mobility impaired Bosnian girlfriend and his desire for vitality, sexuality and independence, in the turmoil of this disoriented town he continues his struggle to find a dignified way of life saving love from dying. 

The nights of Sarajevo belong to the wild dogs, descendants of the pet dogs abandoned by their dead or refuged humans and ruined houses during the Balkan War in 1995.
In rough images, whose cracks reveal an own kind of beauty, the film follows the maltreated, often traumatised beings straying the streets alone or in gangs on their daily struggle for survival, searching for foot, bathing, fucking or being tortured by some humans traumatised as they are or persecuted by the dog catchers who executed most of them since the centenary of the killing of  Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip. 

A Serbian man, suffering of his past actions during the war returns to his hometown Sarajevo which he had left after the end of the fights. Facing the survivors of the ethnic rage which transformed former friends and neighbours to enemies and left unhealed wounds, he tries to reconcile with the past and a lost life seeking for forgiveness and redemption.


Fred Kelemen
Fred Kelemen



Fred Kelemen


Fred Kelemen

Director of Photography

Andrea Dobre, Irfan Brković, Dario Sekulowski, Orlin Stanchew, Radu Voinea, Naum Doksevski, Ana-Maria Draghici, Flóra Fecske, Claudia Kovács, Lev Predan Kowarski, Fred Kelemen

Music by

Zoe Polanski


Friederike Schuchardt, Annett Ilijew, Fred Kelemen


Iulia Ciochina, Doroteja Nadrah, Katarina Nikšić, Blaž Setnikar, Aja Štukan, Slaven Došlo, Sorin Dobrin

Production company(ies)

Kino Kombat Filmmanufactur

Fred Kelemen

He studied painting, music, philosophy, religious science and drama studies and worked in various theatres as a director’s assistant before beginning his studies in directing and cinematography at the German Film & TV Academy Berlin (dffb) from 1989 to 1994. For his diploma film Fate he received the German National Film Award in 1995. Since then, he has made a number of films and videos as director and collaborated as cinematographer with several film directors like Joseph Pitchhadze (Sweets, Israel< 2013), Béla Tarr (Journey to the Plain, Hungary 1995, The Man from London, Hungary/France/Germany 2007, The Turin Horse, Hungary, France, USA, Germany, 2011 ), Rudolf Thome (The Visible and the Invisible, Germany, 2006), Gariné Torossian (Stone, Time, Touch, Canada/Armenia, 2005). Since 1995, he has worked as an associate professor and has given master classes and lectures at the following institutions: Centre of Cinematographical Studies of Catalania (C.E.C.C.) in Barcelona/Spain, College of Fine Arts (ESBAG) in Geneva/Switzerland, Harvard University/USA, Kidderminster College/England, Latvian Cultural Academy (LKA) in Riga, University of Santiago de Chile - Department of the Arts and Sciences of Visual Medias, Thammasat University Bangkok/Thailand, German Film and TV Academy Berlin (dffb)/Germany, Tel Aviv University – Department of Film and Television/Israel, National School of Fine Arts (ENBA) Lyon/France, Film Factory Sarajevo/Bosnia-Hercegovina and at the HBK Saar in Saarbrücken, Germany. Since 2000, he has directed several plays at different theatres in Germany. Retrospectives of his work have been presented at places like the Anthology Film Archives, New York, the Tate Modern London, the Hungarian National Film Theatre Budapest and at cinematheques, film museums and film festivals worldwide. With his film production company Kino Kombat Filmmanufactur he produced his film Krisana/Fallen (Co-prod.: Laima Freimane/Screen Vision, Latvia, 2005) and he produced or co-produced the films Moskatchka by Annett Schütze (Co-prod.: Laima Freimane/Screen Vision, Latvia, 2005) and Fragment by Gyula Maár (Prod.: Béla Tarr/TTFilmmühely, Hungary, 2007) and Hand in Hand by Jana Marsik (Co-prod.: Laima Freimane/Screen Visison, Latvia - Jana Marsik, Gemany, 2008). Fred Kelemen is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)/USA, the European Film Academy (EFA), the German Film Academy and of the European Cultural Parliament (ECP).


Kalyi (1993), Verhängnis (1994), Frost (1998), Abendland (1999), Krišana (2005), Sarajevo Songs of Woe (2016)

FILMS 2017