U2 frontman Bono has established himself as one of the biggest music icons of our time with critically acclaimed albums as well as humanitarian work. In addition to a stellar career in the music industry, Bono has also appeared in multiple films, with the most famous one being Wim Wenders’ 2000 drama The Million Dollar Hotel.
20 years ago, Bono came to the prestigious Sarajevo Film Festival to introduce Wenders’ film. Bono’s relationship with Sarajevo is a long one that has lasted for decades. During Bosnia’s conflicts and escalations in the ’90s, the band broadcasted live satellite feeds and even conducted a live concert during a siege in Sarajevo.
After 20 years, the singer returned to the Film Festival along with Wim Wenders, much to the surprise of fans. While addressing the crowds that had gathered, Bono claimed: “It’s really good to be here. It feels like a long time, and yet also a short time.”
He also elaborated on his personal experiences with the city through the years: “It’s like as if there’s two Sarajevos – the real and the imagined. The one that you live and work in and we visit, and this other one that you take with you wherever you go in the world. This mythic Sarajevo. This place of mischief and fun and magic. And also still to me the capital of coexistence. This great city, and this great festival…[which] is almost like the connective tissue between those two Sarajevos.”
Wenders was awarded an honorary Heart at Sarajevo, which prompted Bono to inform the festival’s director: “You’ve had some great filmmakers, but I don’t think anyone greater than Wim Wenders.” The director also spoke about Bono’s role in the production process of The Million Dollar Hotel: “You don’t just have a writing credit; you invented the story.”