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At the beginning of the First World War, Filip, a school headmaster in a small Serbian town is summoned to Belgrade where he is told that he will have to serve in the war. He does not want to leave his Slovenian wife, Lea, behind alone. Azem, an uneducated, patriarchal Albanian janitor swears on his life to take care of Lea. His oath (Albanian “besa”), however, begins to weaken over time as the sophisticated Catholic Lea and the rather rough Muslim Azem gradually start to develop an unusual friendship. For director Srđan Karanović Solemn Promise is an exciting, unusual, wild and sometimes even funny story about two people who have absolutely nothing in common except for their feelings. The film is designed as an intimate love story playing in the formerly multicultural Kingdom of Serbia. Except for the beginning and the end, the entire story takes place in an empty school. The inevitable claustrophobia plays a crucial role in the suspense and development of the story, while certain situations and rituals are repeated in a particular rhythm. The film was Serbia’s official submission for the category of Best Foreign Language Film at the 83th Academy Awards in 2011.

Solemn Promise

Original Title



Srđan Karanović


Srđan Karanović


Miki Manojlović, Iva Krajnc, Nebojša Dugalić


Feature film


Retrospektive Women and War


France, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary




Serbian, Albanian, Slovenian, German with Engl. sub.

Running time

106 min.


Soul Food


Monday 16.04.

11:00 Urania, mittlerer Saal

Saturday 21.04.

19:00 Urania, mittlerer Saal