EXCLUSIVE: Civilians trapped in the middle of war need more than just food and shelter to survive. They also need something to keep their spirit alive, something to lighten the burden in the darkest hours. Music often fulfills that need, providing a release and nurturing hope. It is true in Ukraine now and it was true three decades ago in Sarajevo as the Bosnian capital endured a brutal siege at the hands and gun barrels of Serbian forces.
The documentary Kiss the Future, making its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, shows how music somehow flourished in the midst of shelling and sniper fire in Sarajevo. Battered musicians played in subterranean clubs. MTV offered a kind of lifeline, funneling music into the city through television sets. The film directed by Nenad Cicin-Sain reveals one Western band in particular rallied the hopes of Sarajevans, the biggest rock band in the world, in fact: U2.
Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Sarah Anthony produced Kiss the Future. We’ve got your first look at the film in the exclusive clip above.
“When I heard the music of U2 politically,” one Bosnian musician who survived the siege recalls, “they represent something that I realized in this war, in Sarajevo war, was a personification of our resistance.”
The front man of Sarajevo band Sikter says, “U2 during the war, they really had something to say… that was really important to us.”
Members of U2, including Bono, are interviewed in the film. They remember attempting to make it into besieged Sarajevo to play for the people. When that was deemed too dangerous, they beamed Sarajevans live into their Zoo TV tour, giving them a platform to tell arena crowds what they were going through.
As an Irish band, U2 knew the awful toll political violence tinged with sectarian conflict could take; they had seen it in Northern Ireland. In the clip, Bono comments on the importance of music, and the life-threatening reality Sarajevans faced.
“All of us use music to protect ourselves,” Bono notes, “as a kind of shield against all the dark forces inside our head. In Sarajevo, there was war. They were in the middle of it. And they were using music as a shield against actual dark forces.”
Kiss the Future is screening as a Berlinale Special Gala presentation. It’s a production of Fifth Season, Affleck and Damon’s Pearl Street Films, and In Cahoots Productions. Screenplay is by Bill S. Carter, who also appears in the film, recounting the effort to enlist U2 to bring the world’s attention to Sarajevo in the 1990s. The screen story is by Carter and Cicin-Sain.
Fifth Season and WME are handling worldwide sales.
Watch the exclusive clip above.
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