orig. Sabori

Production company: Dunav film, Belgrade, 1965
Screenplay: Aleksandar Petrović
Director: Aleksandar Petrović
Camera: Nikola Majdak
Film editing: Aleksandar Ilić
Choice of music: Aleksandar Petrović
Associates: D. Kostić, R. Vujić, B. Babić

Sabori represents the medieval feasts or gatherings of people around churches, or monasteries, on a particular Saint’s day. This tradition was a common practice in the medieval Serbian state before the conquest of the Ottoman Empire. The custom of the Sabori continued until the twentieth century, in an almost hidden form, under Tito’s communist regime. The Church as an institution, was never really persecuted by the communists, but “aggressively marginalized”. Religion was forbidden in schools, however, a significant number of Serbs continued to practice their faith. Petrović filmed these Sabori « invisible »  to the state media. The film compares the fresco scenes of Serbian medieval monasteries to scenes of these assemblies (Sabori).

Drawing on his pictorial sensibility- Petrović had a degree in Art History- on the symbols, without narrative, but accompanied by sound and music, he made his short film Sabori a timeless documentary.

Note: the French title “Kermesses” was chosen by the production (communist) to show only the festive side, taking care not to make any allusion to the religious celebration as is in the real Sabori.


  • 4th Mostra Internazionale del Cinema Libero, Poretta Terme, 1966
  • People’s Festival in Florence, Italie, 1966
  • International Folk Film Festival, Kranj, Slovenia 1970
  • Documentary Film Festival of Rennes, November (Programme spécial) 1992
  • Europe around Europe Festival, Evreux, Normandy – march 2000
  • 60th Documentary and Short Film Festival, Belgrade, april 2013 – Assemblies (Sabori)


The Great “Sabori” meet once a year in the monasteries of Serbia. An important crowd from near and far areas gathers in the monestery’s courtyard and the surrounding meadows. These “Sabori” look like fairgrounds. However, their particularity is that they take place in the company of marvelous medieval frescos.

A fundamental characteristic of this theme is on the one hand the relatively primitive mode of entertainment of these peasants and on the other, the finesse and elegance of these medieval works and buildings. It is possible that the first impression will be that the Middle Ages are in the courtyard and Culture and civilization shine on the monastery’s walls.

We’ll try to go further in the film. We will try to find a link that unites these people to the beauty of their history. These “Sabori” own their centuries-old traditions. For centuries, Serbia has come to these walls for its Soul, so it would not forget the grandeur and strength of its national genius.

Today, it must be emphasized that while these monasteries are turning more and more into museums, which is good, the “sabori” in their courtyard seem anachronistic. This meetings of people and History reveal the depth of the roots that we are looking to identify. The relation of frescoes and architecture with the scenes of popular life will certainly be the most solid support for the formulation of these ideas.

The film will be shot in the “Sabori” of the monasteries of Sopoćani, Studenica, Kalenić and Manasija.

Aleksandar Petrović (1965)


PUBLISHED: 29 MAY 2013, APRIL 2-6, 2013. BELGRADE Youth Center

…In addition, there are some wonderful surreal images in these shorts, such as a boy being hugged by a large trained bear in Assemblies (Aleksandar Petrović, Yugoslavia, 1965…


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