elDiario.es: ‘Maldita’, the love song between Sarajevo and Barcelona

‘Maldita’, the love song between Sarajevo and Barcelona that conquered the Goya Awards and that “must never die”


Maldita. A love song to Sarajevo’ reclaims with the music of singer Božo Vrećo and pianist Clara Peya the present of this city, beyond the impact of the war.

On one screen, the Bosnian singer Božo Vrećo. On the other, the Catalan pianist Clara Peya. They meet by video call and, more than 1,000 kilometres away, they imagine how to intertwine their music. This is the story of ‘Maldita. A love song to Sarajevo’, a short audiovisual film that won a Goya Award this Saturday and which captures the creative process of this artistic combo and allows us to get closer to the figure of Vrećo.

Tradition and transgression coexist in a film that is presented as a metaphor for what Sarajevo is today, beyond a recent history of war. “Inclusive, courageous, unafraid to evolve, while at the same time looking to tradition as a strong part of her personality”. These are the traits used to describe the Bosnian city by Iván Zahínos, producer of the short film, which is directed by Amaia Remírez and Raúl de la Fuente (Kanaki Films) and produced by Medicus Mundi.

Received at the gala in Seville, Zahínos made it clear from the stage that the statuette will travel first to Barcelona and then to the Bosnian capital. “To continue honouring a love story between two cities that must never die,” he proclaimed.

Zahínos conceived the film as a tribute to life in the Bosnian capital, a city he first set foot in 1998, still in the throes of reconstruction. It was five years ago that he heard Božo Vrećo for the first time and, upon meeting him, he saw in this figure and his musical career an opportunity to expand the story of Sarajevo.

His art and the place he has made for himself in the world make it possible to convey “a different image of the city”, usually limited to the horror of the armed conflict, says the producer. “Božo is a person who integrates diverse sensibilities, the diversity of origins, the tradition behind religions as something interesting and rich, without confronting them, as well as his gender identity and expression, which calls for a courageous attitude,” says Zahínos.

Vrećo’s captivating voice, which sings and speaks in equal parts in the half-hour film, is at its best when she comes face to face with Peya at the piano. The basilica of Santa María del Mar in Barcelona is the setting for the earthquake they create with ‘Maldita’, the song that gave the short film its name. “We understood each other perfectly, both in what ‘Maldita’ wanted to say and in what the theme needed”, says the Catalan composer. “We were clear that it had to have strength and courage, and also that it had to be full of pain”, she stresses.

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