Branko Đurić

Branko Đurić

Đurić performing with Bombaj Štampa in Sarajevo in September 2011.
Born (1962-05-28) 28 May 1962
Sarajevo, PR Bosnia-Herzegovina, FPR Yugoslavia (Now in Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Residence Ljubljana, Slovenia
Other names Đuro/Djuro
Occupation Actor, director, musician
Years active 1984–present
Spouse(s) Tanja Ribič
Children son Filip (from first marriage), daughters Zala and Ela

Branko "Đuro" Đurić (born 28 May 1962) is a Bosnian actor, comedian, director and musician.

Born and raised in Sarajevo, Đurić rose to prominence throughout the former Yugoslavia with the hit comedy series Top lista nadrealista during the 1980s. Đuro became something of an epitome for the Bosnian people, primarily due to his accent and slang. He was also one of the founding members of SCH and the frontman of Sarajevo rock band Bombaj Štampa.[1] In August 1992, several months into the Bosnian War, he fled to Slovenia and remained residing there ever since.

Early life

Born to a Serb father and Bosniak mother, his father died when young Branko was only one. When he was fourteen his mother got married to painter Branko Popovac so part of his adolescence was spent with a stepfather who encouraged him to pursue his artistic talents.[2]

Cinematic career

From an early age Đurić knew he wanted to be involved with performing arts. To that end in 1981 he applied at the newly established Academy of Performing Arts (ASU), a faculty within University of Sarajevo, but got rejected. In parallel, after the ASU rejection, he started studying journalism at the University of Sarajevo's Faculty of Philosophy.

He didn't give up on acting, though, getting jobs as an extra at TV Sarajevo. He also re-applied at ASU every year, and after two more rejections in 1982 and 1983, finally got accepted on his fourth try in 1984. Once accepted at ASU, he quit the journalism studies where he completed two years.

Early acting roles

In April 1984, as Đurić contemplated giving ASU another try, he joined Top lista nadrealista (a group of Sarajevo youths producing a 15-minute radio segment that aired as part of a weekly programme called Primus on Radio Sarajevo's channel two) that began shooting television sketches conceptualized as fillers in-between folk music numbers. In parallel, Zabranjeno Pušenje, one of the bands from the same New Primitives sub-cultural milieu released its debut album and Đurić played a small role in their "Neću da budem Švabo u dotiranom filmu" video.[3] At the video shoot, Đurić met director Ademir Kenović, telling him of his continual woes with getting accepted at ASU to which Kenović responded by sending over his friend Vuk Janić to help Đurić prepare and hone material for the upcoming audition. Đurić finally got accepted.

In early June 1984, Top lista nadrealista television episodes started airing on TV Sarajevo's second channel. Early reaction was largely one of indifference, but after a few episodes, the sketches started catching on. By now known under his nickname Đuro, Đurić was a prominent member of the troupe, playing multiple characters, though the one that got him most attention was his portrayal of a TV station's jumpy security guard with a catchphrase "Ćega, ba". The TV show's popularity as well as its folk music context led to lucrative offers from local folk music promoters and managers such as Rizo Rondić of doing sketch comedy at their client's live shows and tours, named "Udri kapom o ledinu", "Zasviraj i za pojas zadjeni", "Prođoh Bosnu pjevajući", etc.,[4] through Bosnian towns and villages. Đuro and colleague Zenit Đozić took many of those offers throughout the second part of 1984, cashing in their Nadrealisti prominence.[5]

The following year, 1985, Đuro became part of Audicija, a no frills stage comedic production consisting of Academy of Stage Arts (ASU) students playing characters applying to the academy. Conceptualized as a series of one-on-one auditions between each applicant and the academy professor, with students drawing upon their own auditioning experiences, the production gained prominence when video of it got shown on television with Đuro's streetwise character Solomon Bičakćić among the more popular. Though drawing mostly poor reviews, Audicija's folksy humour soon became a comedy smash hit all over Yugoslavia with each coming ASU generation performing it and taking the show on the road across the country.

Cashing in on the sudden popularity of his comedic everyman persona, Đuro, an ASU student, starred in a series of memorable commercials for the local tourist board in Sarajevo – popularizing tourism on the mountains around the city such as Jahorina and Bjelašnica – with folksy catchphrase re-used from Audicija, "Joj razlike, drastićne", delivered in heavy Sarajevan accent sticking with the audiences.[6][7] The said commercials turned out to be significant also due to featuring the jingle-like Goran Bregović-composed tune with Đuro singing about the mountains when the same tune later appeared as a song called "Hajdemo u planine" on Bijelo Dugme's (Bregović's band) next studio album Pljuni i zapjevaj moja Jugoslavijo released in November 1986, this time sung by the band's singer Alen Islamović.[8] Due to Bregović's habit of mercilessly reusing an recycling old material, the same tune was in 1992 also sung by Iggy Pop as "Get the Money" on the Arizona Dream movie soundtrack.[9]

Also in 1985, while still in his first year at ASU, the young actor got cast against type by Kenović for the leading role in TV drama Ovo malo duše, a touching coming-of-age story written by Ranko Božić that aired in 1986 on TV Sarajevo with Đuro playing Ibrahim Halilović, suddenly single father in a remote Bosnian village after his wife passes away. This led to a few more dramatic roles on television – in series Znak on TVSa and a movie Vanja that aired on TV Novi Sad.

He also continued doing TV commercials – this time for Dedo and Nana coffee – using his by now well established "local guy from Sarajevo" persona.[10]

Đuro then caught a bit of break when the award-winning director Emir Kusturica cast him in Dom za vešanje, which became the young actor's very first role in a feature film. The fact this was Kusturica's first feature after the director's Palme d'Or-winning previous effort ensured plenty of attention for the project along with a Cannes showing. Though his part in the movie was minor (he played one of the Gypsy thugs in Italy), Đuro left a good impression that opened many doors for the young actor.

Popularity in Yugoslavia

By 1989, a sought-after actor all over Yugoslavia, Đuro played memorable supporting role in Kuduz, Kenović's feature film debut. He also participated in Kako je propao rokenrol (a three-story ensemble film by the recent graduates from the Belgrade's Faculty of Dramatic Arts), playing the male lead in the third story opposite Vesna Trivalić about a young couple preparing for the arrival of their first baby.

In fall 1989, Top lista nadrealista's second series started airing, a 7-episode chunk that achieved huge viewership rates in addition to critical praise, all of which solidified Đuro's status in the country. Playing different funny characters every week like street policeman Rade Pendrek, cranky average TV viewer Reuf, high-strung TV news director Đuđi, host of do-it-yourself segment 'Đurine kućne čarolije', etc. led to another huge wave of popularity for the actor.

Bosnian War and relocation to Slovenia

At the outbreak of Bosnian War during spring 1992 Đuro was in Sarajevo before fleeing the city in late August 1992, several months into the siege, and settling in Ljubljana.

Currently, Ðurić is married to Slovenian actress Tanja Ribič with whom he played with in Kajmak in marmelada and lives and works in Slovenia, where he leads Theatre 55, a film production company.

He also works in Croatia, where he had a TV show Pet Minuta Slave (Five Minutes of Fame) on Nova TV, as well as the comedy series Naša mala klinika (Our Little Clinic), which was being aired on POP TV and Nova TV.

In the mid-2000s, Ðurić starred in and directed TV series Brat bratu, the Slovenian version of Only Fools and Horses. The series got cancelled after thirteen episodes due to poor viewership.

In February 2007, Ðurić has appeared on B92 television in Serbia in Ðurine žute minute short segments, a slightly different take on his widely popular "Ðurine kućne čarolije" sketch, which he performed on Top lista nadrealista. The segments mostly received poor reviews and were quickly taken off the air.

In 2011, he played a Serbian soldier in Angelina Jolie's movie In the Land of Blood and Honey. This was Đurić's second movie about the Bosnian War. The first one was Danis Tanović's 2001 No Man's Land, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In it, Ðurić played Ciki, a Bosniak soldier.

Ðurić will make his British television debut in 2012. He plays the lead role of a remorseful former KGB agent in If We Dead Awaken, a one-off Channel 4 drama directed by Luke McManus and written by James Phillips. The film is as part of the Coming Up series produced for Channel 4 by Touchpaper Television. The film was shot on location in London in February and March 2012 and will be transmitted in the early autumn of the same year.


Musical career

In parallel with trying to make it as an actor, and later after managing to become a successful one, Đuro was involved with bands though his musical engagement was mostly scheduled around his acting one.

He started with a band called Ševe in the early 1980s with childhood friend Nedim Babović. Đuro then joined punk outfit SCH in 1983, but soon transferred to Bombaj Štampa re-joining Nedim Babović. As Đurić's acting career took off, the band also became more prominent, although their activity was always sporadic. In 1987 their debut album got released.

In December 2008, he reunited with Bombaj Štampa for a concert in Sarajevo featuring original guitarist Nedim Babović and drummer Dragan Bajić along with bassist Ernie Mendillo (The Brandos). More concerts followed and an album of new material will be released in the spring of 2010.


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