Tuesday, August 08, 2006


From the archive: 4/25/2005

War movie of the week:

Think about the best war movies you've seen lately (Three Kings, A Very Long Engagement, Saving Private Ryan for example - What? You haven't seen these films? What the hell's wrong with you?). What do they have in common? For one thing, they attempt to portray war in a very realistic way. War isn't pretty. The war zone is a dangerous place and you'll see things there you wish you hadn't (The opening sequence to Saving Private Ryan is a good example). NO MAN'S LAND takes a different approach.

This movie sets up a situation for which there is no possible resolution, at least none that anyone is willing to try. Taking place at the "front" during the Bosnian war, the two sides sit in trenches at opposite sides of the field. Through a series of events, a Bosnian and a Serb soldier get trapped together in a trench at the center. The trench is not very big so they can't avoid each other. Neither one can escape. If the Serb climbs out of the trench, the Bosnians will shoot him. Likewise, if the Bosnian soldier tries to leave, the Serb army will cut him down. It's a standoff............

.............. then things get complicated.

This movie is movie is more like Mike Nichol's CATCH 22 than the films I mentioned above. It works as a satire, offering very dark humor and pointing out the absurdities of war and hatred and inability of the UN peacekeepers to do anything useful. The ending is very powerful, and you won't soon forget it.

The language is mostly Serbo-Croatian, with a smattering of English, French, etc.. thrown in from the Red Cross and UN forces. This film won both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001.

Favorite quote: "Because I have a gun and you don't."



At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great war movie choice. I saw it about three years ago and it still haunts me.



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