“HAPPY GYPSIES” – In Memory of Bekim Fehmiu
In memory of the late actor Bekim Fehmiu, who passed away recently, the 16th Sarajevo Film Festival will organize a gala screening of the cult 1967 film SKUPLJAČI PERJA (HAPPY GYPSIES), directed by Aleksandar Petrović.
In this way, the Sarajevo Film Festival, which has always had in its focus regional film and its authors, wishes to pay homage to one the greatest actors and artists in this region.
It is the Festival’s intention to introduce young film lovers, as well as the new generation of actors and filmmakers, to the greatest names of the local stage in the past period, as well as to nurture the history of film in this region as a foundation for the further successes of the coming generation of film professionals.
“Bekim Fehmiu was undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of our region. With his talent and his performances, he by far surpassed the boundaries of the former Yugoslavia, and became one of the first actors of the former joint state to become a European and world star”, said Sarajevo Film Festival Director Mirsad Purivatra.
A great actor, and a great man, Bekim Fehmiu has played a series of very successful roles in his prolific acting career. However, he will be best remembered for the role of Beli Boro in HAPPY GYPSIES, which received the Jury Grand Prix of the 1967 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the FIPRESCI Award.
Fehmiu was born in Sarajevo in 1936, and graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, in the class of professor Mato Milošević. He was the first Albanian from Kosovo to become a professional actor.
Fehmiu started his acting career already as a student, in 1953, when he played an episode role in the comedy OPŠTINSKO DETE (MUNICIPALITY KID), directed by Soja Jovanović on the basis of a play by dramatist Branislav Nušić. His next role was incomparably more significant, in SAŠA, a feature film on war, which propelled him among the stars of Yugoslav film. He began his international career with the leading role in spectacular television series ODYSSEUS, which was offered to him by famous Italian producer Dino de Laurentis at the Cannes Film Festival Award Ceremony.
Since 1953, he played roles in 48 films, among them Živojin Pavlović’s ENEMY (1965), Mićo Popović’s SWARM (1966), Dragoslav Lazić’s WARM YEARS (1966), Bart Kennedy’s ADVENTURERS (1969) and DESERTER (1977), Hajrudin Šiba Krvavac’s SPECIAL EDUCATION (1977) and PARTISAN SQUADRON etc.
Alongside a prolific local and international film career, Fehmiu has also played over 40 theatre roles. His book, “Blistavo i strašno” (GLAMOUR AND HORROR) was published in 2001, where he described his childhood in Sarajevo, Skadar and Prizren, and the years before the beginning of World War 2, until his beginnings at the Drama Department at the Pristina Theatre.
This book marked a comeback into public life for this renowned Yugoslav actor after many years of absence. He had retreated from the public eye as a protest against the anti-Albanian propaganda at the time.
Bekim Fehmiu was married to actress Branka Petrić, with whom he lived between Belgrade, Sarajevo and Prizren.