Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Bosnia Herzegovina/Slovenia/Italy/France/United Kingdom/Belgium, 2001Noé Productions, , , , , Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, , , Eurimages, , , , Rai Cinema, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone, , , , , , Screenplay by Danis Tanovic Cinematography by Walther van den EndeProduced by Marc Baschet, Frederique Dumas-Zajdela, Cedomir KolarMusic by Danis Tanovic Production Design by Dusan MilavecCostume Design by Zvonka MakucFilm Editing by Francesca CalvelliAcademy Awards 2001Cannes Film Festival 2001Golden Globe Awards 2001Toronto International Film Festival 2001
Two soldiers, one Serbian, the other Bosnian, end up together in an empty trench between their two fronts in the middle of a ceasefire in Bosnia. A third man, Bosnian, lies patiently on a land mine until someone can help him off of it without the whole area exploding. Soon the British media get whiff of the situation and the United Nations peacekeepers become involved while the two protagonists fight for supremacy over the little turf they occupy. Director Danis Tanovic manages to infuse his brilliant film with real characters, violence that makes us get to know characters before whatever fate befalls them (even if it’s only for a second), a good look at the media circus that interferes with these situations, and a criticism of the hands-off attitude that the UN often takes, but he never makes any shrill judgments about anyone involved. This intelligent war movie is a fair examination of both sides, featuring top-notch acting from the entire cast, with a special mention going to the wonderful, late Katrin Cartlidge, here playing an anxious British reporter (this was her last notable film appearance before her untimely death at the age of 41 of complications from pneumonia and septicaemia). This film makes an excellent companion piece to Michael Winterbottom’s Welcome To Sarajevo, and should definitely be seen by those whose only cinematic exposure to the trouble in the Balkans is in The Peacemaker.