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Events in the former Yugoslavia in the late twentieth century prompted a large number of young people to search for better educational opportunities in Austria. Since the University of Graz has a special focus on various sets of issues regarding Southeastern Europe, many citizens from the Balkans have chosen Graz as a place for their academic and professional development. In that way, the students from this region were given a chance to take a closer look into the political, legal, economic, linguistic and other issues concerning Southeast Europe. Many started to follow, and partially join, projects related to the Balkans, having thus the opportunity to grasp the complexity of the social situation in the region. The importance of this region as well as the importance of the town of Graz correlates in some way with the life and work of Ivo Andrić.

After all, in 1924 the famous writer received his PhD in the Styrian capital. Moreover, through activities within the project „Andrić Initiative“ and longtime scientific engagement of the Institute for Slavic studies, Ivo Andrić has become a recognizable feature for Graz. It is not without reason that the bust to this Nobel Prize winner is placed in front of this academic institution.

Working on one such project at the Institute, the author of this documentary has developed a sensitivity for issues related to culture, literature and language in the former Yugoslavia. This is evident in direct participation in preparation of „Gralis corpus“ ( and work on the project „Andrić Initiative“, which deals with literary, linguistic, historical and cultural aspects of Andrić'creativity in European context, and the development of multilingual the German-Slavic electronic corpus („Andrić-Corpus“) as the base of all activities within the Project. During the student excursion "Traces of Ivo Andrić", we had a chance to participate in many scientific discussions around the former Yugoslavia – in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia – after which it became evident to us that there are still many conflicting opinions and interpretations related to the life and work of Ivo Andrić. Certain interpretations that have appeared after his death, and especially in the nineties, seem to be politically fabricated. Some consider him to be a great connoisseur of people and historical conditions in the former Yugoslavia, while others question his view of reality. Despite the banality of the discussions that question the national affiliation of Andrić, these debates reveal, in fact, other political problems and national prejudices  that emerged after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

This motivated us to embark on a film project in which we would try to reflect on the different perceptions of the writer’s life and work. The documentary will be based on interviews with people most acquainted with his life and work. So far, we have conducted several interviews in Graz and Belgrade. In the next period we are going to finalize the documentary by visiting Austria, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Germany.





Last modified on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 13:51

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