‘Balkan Spirit’ by Hermann Vaske

Published in 2012 and nominated for the Prix Europa award.

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German filmmaker Hermann Vaske explores the Balkan world in the hopes of understanding the meaning of “Balkan spirit”, by interviewing philosopher Slavoj Žižek and artists, such as Marina Abramović, Emir Kusturica and Angelina Jolie. However, the term’s complexity very quickly becomes apparent and it seems increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to define the Balkans’ geographical location, its people and its culture.


Hermann Vaske is director, author, and producer. As director he worked with actors such as Dennis Hopper, Harvey Keitel, Sir Peter Ustinov and John Cleese. As author he wrote Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants: Hermann Vaske’s Gespräche Mit Den Besten Der Werbung (Die Gestalten Verlag, 2001) and Why Are You Creative? (Harper Design, 2002). As producer, he worked with Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and Marina Abramović. He is winner of the Grimme Award (Germany’s TV Oscar) and more than 100 creative awards including Cannes Lions and Clios. Vaske studied at the University of the Arts in Berlin and at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and worked for some of the world’s best advertising agencies like Saatchi&Saatchi in London, GREY New York, and FCB.

Slavoj Žižek is a Philosopher and psychoanalytic social theorist. He is Senior Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana; Professor at the School of Law and Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London; Distinguished Scholar at the Kyung Hee University, Seoul; and Visiting Professor at the German Department, New York University. His field of work comprises Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, dialectical-materialist metaphysical interpretations of German Idealism and Marxian critique of ideology. His more than sixty books in English have been widely translated. His latest publications include Pandemic! & Pandemic! 2, Hegel in a Wired Brain, Sex and the Failed Absolute, Like A Thief In Broad DaylightReading MarxIncontinence of the Void, and The Day After the Revolution.

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