Director Emir Kusturica
Original title Bife “Titanik”
Release 1979
Original language Serbo-Croatian
Length 1h
Music Zoran Simjanović
Script Jan Beran & Emir Kusturica, based on a novel of Ivo Andrić
Photography Vilko Filać


  • First Prize of the Yugoslav film festival of Portoroz (Slovenia)


Based on a novel of Ivo Andrić, Titanic is the name of the bar of Mento Papo, a Jew from Sarajevo. The only link with the Transatlantic is a picture of the boat on the wall. Mento's poor life flows accordingly to clients' jokes, the drinks, the gambling room, and the figths with his girlfriend… The story is set during the Second World War, and when the news of the war arrive in Bosnia, Mento Papo is not ready, contraryly to his Catholic girlfriend, who already prepared her bagage to flee. Then comes Stjepan, a poor Muslim who joined Ustachis, the infamous army of the “collaborationists”. Stjepan is a character quite as loosy as Mento, except that it's him who carries the uniform and the weapon. But despite to what he hoped, this doesn't give him the expected “status”. Willing also to take his share of the cake, he seeks a Jew to spoil, and not finding anything at Mento's, he kills him out of rage. Realizing wh was Mento Papo, Stjepan understand that he was more the reflection of his own image than his oponent.


A title of the soundtrack can be found on a compilation of Zoran Simjanović :

  • Bife “Titanik”


CountryFormat audio languages subtitle languages Buy online Description
Russia DVD Z5 PAL serbian, russianrussian Amazon.com


This story is deep, complex and was quite taboo at the time. It highlights for the first time the clashes in the ethnic groups of Yugoslavia.

Extract from the story, when the bar of Mento was still open and that the first worrying news of the Nazi Germany were arriving : ”… For them, all these news were only pretexts to make fun of Mento. We joke much more in Bosnia, that the foreigner could possibly believe if he looked at the country by the windows of a train. But the joke is heavy and hard ; without joy, if one can say; overpowering for who makes the expense of it, it shows that its author does not have either an easy life.

The story of Ivo Andrić was written during the Second World War, the film of Emir Kusturica was released in 1980. They are today more than ever of topicality.

Concerning the style, we already find in this film the Emir Kusturica's touch , like :

  • some sequences where the action is simultaneously on the foreground and the background.
  • A dice gambling game where the main character, already a poor man, looses all his money to the cheater fellows. He will even loose the last billet he had hidden in his sock. This scene will be recycled in Time of the Gypsies.
  • Some inside sequences filmed from the outside of the building, through a window show a strong Andréï Tarkovski influence.
  • A lot of work on shadows, reflections, and lamps.
  • A Film inside the film sequence also since Mento Papo watches on his TV set the arrival of the German army in his country, but still doesn't want to leave his bar… Then after the archive images we have a great visual effect since in a similar frame as a TV set we see through the window of the bar german soldiers walking in the street, forcing the intensity of the historical action in the movie.
  • The film precedes also the multi-ethnic Bosnia bursting : whereas the customers live peacefully at the beginning of the story, discuss and even make fun of the religion, the film ends in a racist crime…
  • The themes, the claustrophobia generated by this glaucous inn, the yellow tinted atmosphere make of Titanic a direct precursor to Underground.

Since the film was never released on DVD nor tape (outside Russia), here is a link to view it :



en/titanic.txt · Last modified: 2011/11/09 22:39 by matthieu1