“Scream for me Sarajevo”, is a film about a concert by Bruce Dickinson and his band Skunkworks in 1994. If you’re not a fan of Bruce or Iron Maiden it doesnt matter – you still need to watch this film as this is a concert film like no other you’ll ever see. It’s not a film of a concert – it’s far far more than that.
In 1994, Sarajevo was enduring the longest siege a capital city has faced in the history of modern warfare, while the residents endured mortar fire and sniper fire constantly, a Major in the British army who was serving with the United Nations convinced Bruce Dickinson to play a concert. Initially Bruce and his band had no idea how dangerous it would be, but realised as they were smuggled into the besieged city in the back of a lorry to play the concert.
The film spends a lot of time talking to people who were living there and who despite the constant risk of death, tried to make life as normal as possible with some forming bands – that could only rehearse properly during brief spells when the electricity worked.
The documentary talks to Bruce, his band, and the people involved in organising the show and some who attended, and it clearly brings back painful memories even 20 years on from the events as at several points you can see the person being interviewed struggling to talk about what they saw, heard or experienced.
Very little of the film is of the concert itself, but there is some live footage and there are photos taken by the band on the trip. The film also shows them returning to the city 20 years on and seeing how things have changed – as one says, hearing people moan about little things shows things are back to normal now.
I said at the start of this review that this is a concert film like no other, and it really is true. We’ll hopefully never see a city besieged like that again with people dying while the world does nothing. For a band to travel to a place like that to play a concert seems insane, but it’s very clear that for the people of Sarajevo this wasn’t just a concert, it meant far more to them, giving some hope that things might improve. It’s a truly moving documentary – as much about the horror of war as about music. Speaking of his experience Bruce said, “It changed the way I viewed life, death and other human beings”.
A truly moving film that I recommend everyone watches.