Who ever thought Robert De Niro was an icon for taxi drivers? Well, in Sarajevo (Bosnia) he is. Hundreds of Sarajevo taxi drivers stuck posters of Robert De Niro on their cabs in tribute to the actor who opened the city’s film festival last Friday with a screening of a digitally remastered version of ‘Taxi Driver’. In that movie, now exactly 40 years old, De Niro plays a lonely, depressed former U.S. Marine living on his own in New York who becomes a taxi driver to cope with his chronic insomnia. That struck a chord with many local taxi drivers: „Many of our colleagues became taxi drivers after being retired from the Bosnian army and in a sign of gratitude and compassion with the main character we have decided to stage him a warm welcome in this way,“ Hasib Losic of the Sarajevo Taxi Association told Reuters.
Some 300 taxi drivers have put De Niro posters on their cabs, most depicting him with his hair shaved into a mohawk, onto their windscreens and more will follow suit during the nine-day Sarajevo Film Festival. The festival, originally founded as an act of defiance towards the end of the 1992-95 siege during the Bosnian war, will this year show 222 films from 61 countries to an audience of about 100,000.
It honoured De Niro with a lifetime achievement award on its opening night.