Bosnia: Romani actor passes away in poverty after being lauded by Berlinale Film Festival in 2013
The Bosnian Romani actor Nazif Mujić became the surprise star of the Berlinale Film Festival five years ago thanks to his role in a docudrama by Danis Tanovič, for which he won the festival's "Silver Bear" award for best actor. Back in Bosnia, however, he returned to a life of abject poverty in which he earned the bare minimum as a scrap metal collector, just like the character he portrayed in the film.
Mujić died on 18 February at the age of 48, Agence France-Presse reports. The Balkan drama about Romani people, entitled "An Episode from the Life of an Iron Picker", also won the Berlinale's Grand Jury Prize.
The actor was initially welcomed back to Bosnia as a film celebrity. He believed he would remain in the profession, but he never received any more roles and made his living as a garbage collector, among other things.
Mujić decided to resolve his oppressive financial situation by traveling with his wife and three children to Germany to seek asylum. He was unsuccessful in that attempt and had to return to Bosnia.
His struggle to improve his standard of living continued, and he ultimately even sold his valuable film trophy for EUR 4 000 in order to survive. There are about 75 000 Romani people living in Bosnia who, according to Human Rights Watch, grapple with extensive discrimination in education and employment.
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