JUNE 21st 2018

Review By: Ruben Mosqueda

‘Scream For Me Sarajevo’ tells the story of Bruce Dickinson and his [then] backing band Skunkworks sneaking into Sarajevo to perform a concert in 1994 in the midst of the siege. Bruce and Skunkworks were snuck into the country like contraband;  they put on a show in the most stripped down and the most barebones manner possible in a tiny theater in the middle of the Bosnia. A quick refresher; the Siege of Sarajevo was the takeover of the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. To date it’s been the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern age. Sarajevo was besieged by the Army of Republika Srpska from April 5th, 1992 to February 29th, 1996 during the duration of the Bosnian War.

‘Scream For Me Sarajevo’  features interviews with [then] teenage metalheads who lived through the traumatic experience, also featured are staff from the UN Army and of course members of Skunkworks as a well as Bruce Dickinson himself. Dickinson looks back at journey to Sarajevo very nonchalantly; as if there wasn’t a war taking place at the time!  Dickinson and band were literally snuck across occupied territories in the back of a jalopy; a convoy of them. Each step of the way to their destination; being subject to gun fire, artillery fire or driving over a minefield!

The first 30 or so minutes is dedicated to teen metalheads [now adults] talking about their experience during the time of the occupation and their recollection of the performance by Bruce and Skunkworks. This portion of the film moves relatively slow, partially due to the subtitles and their cultural manner of storytelling which moves at a  sloth’s pace. Once you get through the monotony, the film picks up speed. The climax of the film is when Bruce, band, Bosnia residents and UN staff come together at the very same theater and reminisce about their experience the night of the show and reflect on where they are now in their lives. Unfortunately there is no full clips of concert footage; just a few seconds here and there 2-3 times at the tail of the film. It’s basically footage show with a camcorder with limited light. What little you see of Skunkworks and the audience is what you see an any show; a band connecting with their audience, though this is transpired in the midst of a war.  ‘Scream For Me Sarajevo’ might not be a ‘must own’ for everyone, perhaps Dickinson completists mostly, but I have a feeling  ‘Scream For Me Sarajevo’ will do better on streaming platforms.