Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Witnesses


..is a Croatian film dealing with the War for Independence back in the early 1990's. Reviews point out that it's not a landmark work (leave it to the Socialists to be downer film critics). Others were more kind and, IMHO, saw the movie for what I thought it was, namely, a film that took Jurica PAVIČIĆ's novel, "Alabaster Sheep" and played off the theme of good and evil during wartime. The director, Vinko Bresan, uses the techniques that Kurosawa used to great effect in Rashomon, namely puling together the perspectives of different main characters in the story.

The technique works well, but that is not the point of the movie, i.e. to compete with Rashomon. The technique's application to the story makes for good reasons to watch this movie multiple times. It's not that the movie is thick or not easily understood, the story itself is relatively simple. It's that the layers of the story and especially the conflicts become sharpened, something that a straight shoot of the story may not have provided. The acting is solid. The setting is a combination of bleak and boring with sudden unplanned action. Basically, from my limited understanding, how a war truly is. The subtitles are the weakest part of the film. The spoken ideas are presented but the fabric of Croatian cursing is left out. A shame, as flamboyant cursing is a favorite artwork of most of the characters in the movie.

If you don't mind being depressed for a bit and you want a glimpse of the horrors of petty day living at a time of war, I' d highly recommend this DVD.

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Comments:
I'll definitely seek this one out, especially to hear the flamboyant Slavic cursing. Always good, that Slavic cursing.
 
I'd love to hear what you think of the movie. It was hard for me to watch this film as it struck home as being fairly accurate as to the depiction of the Serb-Croat-Bosnian hate/love thing. A cousin of mine was drafted into the Croatian Army during this period of time. He was on the Bosnian front at a cafe when a bomb exploded close by. He was slightly wounded but a friend of his, also drafted, was killed two meters away. Two meters became a family shortcut phrase for making it through by the hair of one's chinny-chin-chin.

Some of the discussions and attitudes in the movie were quite familiar to me, so I probably had an unbiased view as to the film's effectiveness.
 
Oops!
That would be biased, not "unbiased view of the film"
 
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