Danis Tanovic – No Man’s Land (2001)


Three soldiers one Serb and two Bosnians are caught up in a countryside trench in no man’s land between Serbian and Croatian lines, while the UN unwillingly gets involved in the situation because of media pressure.

This film is a critical satire of the meaningless of war and on how no one wants to get involved- but actually sit back (the UN) and watch or actually film the carnage (the media). It depicts the bleakness of the war, the UN’s involvement and the intruding media presentation of it in black humour and sharp sarcasm, while still the suspense and the humanity of the situation doesn’t get discarded- but makes it more fascinating and quite constructive.

The intelligent script and story are very fresh in portraying the madness of war and also building up the tension that never falters, as we see how much the two countries hate each other, with the soldiers continuously blaming each other for the war and the stupidity of the situation that they are in. It was definitely an unpredictable and confronting war story that didn’t try to manipulate the circumstances for a change- but actually draws you into the mess.

The thing is at first you don’t feel any for sorrow for the soldiers separately, as they are no worse than each other- but then after while we come to know them in detail and see their point of view. The main hatred you feel is towards the UN Leaders, as they sit back, unwilling to budge, while their soldiers sit around wanting to help… you would know what I mean especially at the end of the film, as the ending really does pack a punch and makes you question humanity.

Not only the UN’s priorities and methods are questioned- but also the artful and shallow media that see this as good news scoop then actually coming across as caring for the welfare of the soldiers. There’s one quote that provides that point from a news reporter that declines to film the bunker and explains that when you’ve seen one bunker, you’ve seen them all… which is pretty ironic, well you’ll what I mean when you see it.

The performances are impressive and truly absorbing from the three soldiers caught in this mess: Branko Djuric as Ciki, Rene Bitorajac as Nino and Filip Sovagovic as Cera . This film reminded very much of ‘Three Kings’ in the humour side of things, but also the grief you feel for those involved in the war- but ‘No man’s land’ is far more involving and far less buoyant than ‘Three Kings’.

What you get is a solid anti-war film that keeps you gripped to the end and when it finishes, it definitely leaves you pondering.



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