Miloš Jovanović

Waterfront: A post-Ottoman post-socialist story

2018, Serbia/Germany
dir. KURS/Miloš Jovanović

Since 2015, the UAE firm “Eagle Hills” and the Serbian government have collaborated on a 2-billion euro project to revitalize the Savamala, a dilapidated post-industrial neighborhood surrounding Belgrade’s old port and central railroad station. The Belgrade Waterfront envisions a bring future of luxury apartments, high-rises, marinas, hotels, and shopping malls. The Serbian authorities have presented the project as an opportunity to finally ascend to European modernity, finishing a project started in the nineteenth century with the country’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. Yet, the Belgrade Watefront has also been criticized for its displacement of Savamala's residents, its radical intervention in the urban tissue, and the economic relations of inequality it champions. Inviting historical comparisons, the Waterfront appears as a modern-day echo of past injustices. This film explores this juxtaposition - the folding of 19th and 21st century capitalism on the city of Belgrade and its waterfront. What does it mean to call upon de-Ottomanization in the era of post-socialism? What visions of civilization and progress does that bring? Whose stories does it erase? Upon whose backs is the waterfront made? And what is to be done?

55 minutes, in English and Serbian (Serbian parts with English subtitles)