Aida Begić

Sarajevo is the Most Open City in the Region!

Director Aida Begić received a Special Jury Prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, with her new movie Children of Sarajevo.


To start off, Aida explains why she loves Sarajevo:

- Despite the great hardship and killing in the past, especially during the last war, ours is the most open city in the region.

Aida grew up on Nemanjina Street (Čekaluša Street) – central and a mahala, all at once! She finds it interesting that in Sarajevo cemeteries are located right in town, for she says it serves as a reminder of life’s passing nature and prevents us from forgetting those who are no longer with us.

What Aida enjoys most is taking walks to Bentbaša, an oasis of peace and nature, which is close enough to the center for one to get away from the crowds, even during workdays. She also enjoys visiting the picnic grounds on Čavljak and going to Igman and Bjelašnica (she has been skiing since she was four!). When Sarajevo is wrapped in snow and fog during winter, it’s the most beautiful time for her, and she chooses to shoot films here in late autumn or winter. She thinks that Alifakovac and Jajce Military Barracks offer the best views of Sarajevo.

Aida enjoys coffee in café Sova in Baščaršija and in the Viennese Café of Hotel Europe; she loves to eat at aščinica Hadžibajrić; at the restaurants El Cuoro, Avlija, Dveri and Mala kuhinja; and ćevapi at Hodžić. She attends Sarajevo War Theater SARTR performances, visits exhibitions and often goes to the cinema. Since it relates to her own work, SFF is the most important event of the year for her. She also thinks that Jazz Fest offers a unique chance to hear live performances by some inspiring musicians, and during MESS the public is in the presence of some real theater legends.

Aida says that tourists should visit Baščaršija, Bey’s Mosque, Despić House, Svrzo House, the Old Orthodox Church, the Cathedral of Jesus’ Sacred Heart and the Jewish Municipality; after that they could eat their lunch in an aščinica or ćevabdžinica. Other must-sees include the National Museum, Historical Museum and the Tunnel of Hope.

To close the conversation, Aida describes Sarajevo as:

- Neither eastern, nor western; neither left, nor right; neither traditional, nor modern…but however you look at it – it’s a city.