Delibašić vaguely resembled John Stockton and played a similar style of
basketball. He was a lethal outside
shooter, who regularly racked-up the assists.
He also wore those old school short shorts. Delibašić survived the Siege of Sarajevo, but
eventually his own body would turn against him.
Miro Benković profiles Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sportsman of the
Twentieth Century in the reverential Mirza
Delibašić—the Legend (trailer
screened last night as part of the documentary competition at the 2013 Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival in New York.
won just about every championship he was allowed to compete in. As part of the Yugoslavian national team, he
won a gold medal at the 1980 Olympics.
He also led Bosnian teams to victory in the European and
Intercontinental Cups. Unfortunately, he
was a half generation older than players like Dražn Petrović, who were the
first to be allowed to sign fat contracts with NBA teams. Still, he had some success playing for
European powerhouse Real Madrid before health problems cut short his career.
is not hard to understand why Delibašić is a national hero in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the most striking images in Legend is a PSA Delibašić recorded
shortly after the Siege in a bombed-out ruin he identifies as the country’s
main television studio. Actually, it
would have been nice to have a bit more context on that. Frankly, Legend
is not the most technically polished documentaries and its organization makes
my desk look neat as a pin. Still, how
many Mirza Delibašić documentaries do you get a chance to see in New York?
question, Benković puts Delibašić on a pedestal, never giving viewers any sense
of the man’s private persona.
Nevertheless, Legend clearly
struck a nostalgic chord with last night’s audience members, many of whom were
humming along to the Delibašić tribute song heard several times during the
course of the film.
connects with its target market. It
also clearly establishes Delibašić’s international significance as an
athlete. It would be interesting to see
what filmmakers like Marius Markevicious (director of The Other Dream Team) or the team behind ESPN’s Once Brothers could make of his
story. Regardless, watching Mirza Delibašić—the Legend at BHFF opens
up a real window into recent Bosnian-Herzegovinian experiences. Definitely a fest deserving wider recognition
amongst cineastes, the expanded BHFF continues tomorrow (5/11) with three
blocks of programming.
Labels: BHFF '13, Bosnian-Herzegovinian Cinema, Documentary, Mirza Delibasic