Filming has started on Belgrade’s last and greatest foray into the “willing suspension of disbelief,” the epic saga under the working title of The Belgrade Waterfront. The avant-premier is scheduled for May 1, 2045, giving the publicists barely 30 years to get ready for the grand event. Half of the budget will be allocated in 2035.
None of the principle actors have arrived yet on the set, nor has the director – citing some unease about getting paid for half of it in 20 years – but the producers (Sheikh Ali Xander & Associates) have so far put on a spectacle worthy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
With great pomp and circumstance, Sheikh Ali has announced that a “project” has been signed for “billions” of euros. We do not need to know what was signed. We just need to believe.
The premise of the project is a brilliant piece of meta-fictional leger-de-main in which the Belgrade cityscape will be transformed into a Gulf oasis of glass and steel, an entire historic quarter of Belgrade will be demolished, untold billions will be invested in an undisclosed way, and the architects of the grand design will be either dead or doddering by the time the curtain rises. Local citizens rise up against it in 2015, showing outrage and indignant anger and effigies of ducks, but their cries slowly die out over the 360 months of project preparation.
In the meantime, Sheikh Ali will reign for several years and retire to Abu Dhabi, pockets lined in an undisclosed manner.
The whole project is a real-time depiction of collective insanity. The producer announces a project with only enough details to make everyone angry. The people actually accept this project as the truth – i.e., that it will really happen – and wax eloquent in their anger about it. A lot of money greases its way over wires and numbered accounts, and the angry mobs will have forgotten about the whole thing by the time the first building crane rises over Sava Mala.
According one anonymous source close to the Sheikh, he was rumored to have been worried about his legacy, saying: “You don’t understand. I could’a had class. I could’a been a contender. I could’a been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”
It is rumored, however, that Marlon Brando will not be available to reprise the role, citing artistic differences with the late actor’s estate.
The Belgrade Waterfront, a work of fiction within a reality documentary about a work of fiction, has marshaled towering plumes of smoke and untold miles of mirroring (some of which is to be “used” in the later “construction” phase) to the service of Belgrade’s grandest illusion.
Opening not-so-very-soon in theatres near you.