Director Kusturica named advisor to Bosnia's Serb president


Sarajevo (AFP)

Acclaimed Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica has been appointed an advisor to Bosnia's nationalist Serb President Milorad Dodik, according to the presidency.

The two men are known to be close friends, with 64-year-old Kusturica, a two-time Palme d'Or winner, describing Dodik as "nothing but the best" in an interview last year with local media.

The announcement, posted on the presidency's website, did not specify what Kusturica's portfolio would be.

Dodik, who has been sanctioned by the US, was elected to Bosnia's three-man presidency last October, seeding fears about the future of the fragile and divided country.

Though he began his political career as an ally of the West, Dodik later rebranded as a firebrand nationalist.

In recent years he inflamed Western powers by referring to post-war Bosnia as a "failed country" and threatening to hold a referendum on the secession of the Serb-dominated region he has run for a decade.

Kusturica, who was born in Sarajevo but has not returned since the 1992-95 war, is also known for provocative views.

One of his Palme d'Or films, "Underground" (1995), was accused by critics of being too pro-Serb.

Nearly a quarter century after the conflict that killed 100,000 people, Bosnia remains divided along communal lines, with power shared between Serb, Muslim and Croat constituencies.