Welcome to Sarajevo  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Welcome to Sarajevo is a British war film from 1997. It is directed by Michael Winterbottom. The screenplay is by Frank Cottrell Boyce and is based on the book Natasha's Story by Michael Nicholson.


In 1992, ITN reporter Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane) travels to Sarajevo, the besieged capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina or, in the words of the correspondents, "the 14th worst place on earth". He meets American star journalist Jimmy Flynn (Woody Harrelson) on the chase for the most exciting stories and pictures. Their work permits them blunt and unobstructed views of the suffering of the people of Sarajevo. The situation changes when Henderson makes a report from an orphanage in which two hundred children live in desperate conditions.

With the help of American aid worker Nina (Marisa Tomei), Henderson tries to get the children into a shelter. At first, the getaway is threatened with failure when the bus with the children is stopped by Serbian militiamen and all the Muslim children are taken away. However, in the end, Henderson manages to smuggle the Bosniak girl, Emira (Emira Nušević), out of the country and adopts her.


Michael Winterbottom portrays the events with brutality. In the opening sequence, there is a sniper attack on a wedding procession. Other shocking sequences include Henderson stumbling upon a massacre at a farm-house, a Bosnian-Serb officer nonchalantly executing groups of Bosniaks and Henderson's arrival in the immediate aftermath of the first of the Markale Massacres.

Shot just a few months after the war on locations in Sarajevo and Croatia, the film uses real ruins and war debris to give the film a feeling of authenticity. Many scenes of the characters witnessing and reporting on street carnage were intercut with video footage of the historic events.

Award Nominations

The film made its world premiere on May 9, 1997, at the 1997 International Cannes Film Festival. It was nominated for the Golden Palm and for the Golden Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Welcome to Sarajevo" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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