“This film is sure to be a success in Russia”

No Man’s Land, a Bosnian movie directed and written by Danis Tanovic, will probably soon appear in Moscow cinemas. The 2001 Belgium – Bosnia – France – Italy - Britain production won an Oscar as a foreign-language film this year. This is the first multireel film by the Bosnian documentalist producer. Earlier, the film picked up a Golden Globe as the best foreign-language film and a Cannes Prize for the best script in 2001.

Danis Tanovic dedicated the film (tragicomedy) to probably the saddest period in the history of his country. The events take place during the Bosnian war in 1993, when the violence between Bosnian Serbs, Muslims, and Croats was at its peak. The war drama is about three soldiers in the war and mostly about relations between Bosnian Serbs and Muslims. In addition, the audience may see the activity of the UN peacekeepers in the conflict.

The soldiers, Bosnian Muslim Ciki (played by Branko Djuric) and Nino from Serbia (Rene Bitorajac), find themselves between the front lines on no man’s land, a neutral territory, in a deadlock. They are trapped in the bottom of a trench and are fired upon from both front lines by the two armies. Landmines are everywhere, and an explosion may be triggered if a single wrong step is taken. A wounded friend of Nino and Ciki is lying on a landmine that will explode if he is removed. UN peacekeepers soon enter the site, who do not even talk to the soldiers. The whole of the world reads the sad story written about the soldiers by reporters, who are at the front line as well. The situation is interpreted in an ironical, somewhat comical manner, although it ends in a catastrophe.

As it is known, Sarajevo used to be a multi-ethnic city, and Bosnia was a multi-ethnic republic before the war. Now, the majority of the population there is made up by Bosnian Muslims, as Serbs have have fled. The Serbian republic is the only refuge for Serbs, as mentioned in the film as well.

Many foreign critics think that the film poses serious political and philosophical problems that are well-combined with “ the Balkan free-and-easy spirit.” However, it is still a fact that no impartial and serious film about Bosnia’s tragic events and the Balkan bloodshed of the 1990s has yet been made. (Rane by Srdjan Dragojevic (1998) is probably an exception here). The explanation is easy: no financing will be appropriated for a film of this kind.

Tanovic is too cautious and flexible in his appraisals concerning the reasons for and the initiators of the conflict. He merely demonstrates but does not explains the war. The film is filled with pacifism. Why has this film been so awarded abroad? Tanovic has been living in France for the last several years; Italian and French sources have financed the film. Everything said in the film was correct, although the problem is really very pressing.

One Russian movie critics said that the film is sure to be a success in Russia, as we will be able to forget our own problems against the background of the problems of the Balkans. This idea seems to be really "wise," maybe even a truthful. Mostly people of narrow interests will go to see the movie, and they are unlikely to get at the heart of the matter. Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/02/39132.html

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