No Man's Land (2001)

 

 

Director:  Danis Tanovic. 

Starring:  Branko Djuric (Ciki), Rene Bitorajac (Nino), Filip Sovagovic (Cera), Georges Siatidis (Marchand), Serge-Henri Valcke (Dubois), Sacha Kremer (Michel), Alain Eloy (Pierre),  Mustafa Nadarevic (Old Serbian soldier), Bogdan Diklic (Serbian officer), Simon Callow (Soft), Katrin Cartlidge (Jane Livingstone), Tanja Ribic (Martha), Branko Zavrsan (Deminer).

a Bosnian & a Serbian soldier, both wounded, find themselves together stranded in no man's land

 

 

The movie is pretty good.  A relief column of Bosnian soldiers on its way to the Bosnian defenses gets lost in the fog.  They decide to sleep through the night to resume their trip in the morning.  But when they awaken in the morning, they find themselves close to the Serbian defense line.  Realizing their mistake, they start to make a run for the Bosnian line across the shallow valley.  Most of the lost soldiers are killed by Serbian gun fire.  Only one, Ciki, who is wounded, manages to reach an abandoned trench system in the middle of the two defensive lines. 

The Serbians sent out two of their soldiers to check to see if anyone Bosnians reached the middle trench line.  Ciki kills one of the Serbs and wounds the other, but he cannot bring himself to kill the Serb Nino.  This leaves the two men stranded in the middle of no man's land between the two armies.  The movie then deals with how the men will get out of this precarious situation.

One of the attempts at a solution was to bring in the neutral United Nation troops.  But the UN soldiers, who want to help, are hampered by bureaucratic hangups and foulups.  At this point, the movie presents a situation that is somewhat of a farce. 

The movie emphasizes the absurdity of war by emphasizing the pettiness and ridiculousness of the situation of the stranded men. 

The situation in the movie was itself absurd., but war itself is not really absurd.  Countries and groups turn all too often to war to be absurd.  War is the expression of the political interests of the countries and groups involved.  And it is serious stuff, not absurd.  For instance, you certainly would not want to refer to the American participation in World War II as absurd.  One could say that Hitler was a madman, but not absurd.  Absurd is just not a very helpful description for war.    

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

 

See Harrison's Flowers (2000)

 

 

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