Customer Review

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 22 May 2010
This review is from: Welcome To Sarajevo [DVD] (DVD)
I would have to say that I agree with both the reviewer who criticised this film and the person who praised it. It is very atmospheric and the actors from the former Yugoslavia aquit themselves very well. The soundtrack is good and the use of actual footage from the war is quite effective. The war in Bosnia was a tradegy in every sense of the word and this film helps convey that.

BUT the critical viewer is correct in saying that it is an oversimplification of what happened during the Balkans. I have studied the wars of the former Yugoslavia and have travelled there three times. It was a much more complex affair than 'Baddie Serbs vs Good guy Bosniaks'. One scene in the film which I took exception to was the part where the female journalist returns from the 'concentration camp'. The famous image of the emaciated Bosniak prisoner is shown and we are left to make the link to the atrocities of the Nazi's. In actual fact, as has been demonstrated by numerous scholars, that famous footage was shot in a disengenous fashion by the TV news crew that day. The one extremely thin man in that REFUGEE CAMP was not standing behind barbed wire in captivity, the film crew positioned themselves behind the razor wire and never made the full story clear. That image however was instrumental in gathering public support for American airstrikes against the Serbs. Now I am not defending the Serb Army but I am trying to explain that that news story and the repetition of it's myth in this film is part of a re-writing of history which served to justify the larger American/ European strategy regarding the former Yugoslavia. A strategy which certainly did not have the interests of any of the Balkan peoples at it's heart.

If we can learn anything from this film it is the obvious futility and waste of war.
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Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Aug 2010 15:27:45 BDT
Mick Trezise says:
This reviewer might like to study just a little bit harder and get his facts straight. I was at HQ UNPROFOR when the military were requesting permission to prevent what was happening in the enclaves. We were prevented from doing so. Having travelled extensively as part of UNPROFOR, the atrocities DID happen and WERE that extensive. Many things weren't reported that maybe should have been and this movie is accurate but not accurate enough as a matter of fact. Had they shown what really happened realistically, the movie would be cut to ribbons by the censors or banned as being too incredible to be real! No side was innocent and all portrayed each other badly but those who were there know what went down, know who caused the hurt and why those who came home feel utterly disgusted with ourselves that we weren't allowed to do more! Camera crews were everywhere but weren't in the areas where ethnic cleansing took place until after the atrocities were committed because they weren't allowed in to film.
Having said this, you will be hard pushed to find a more welcoming and warm people than those in the Balkans, something that makes what happened all the more sad.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Aug 2011 17:38:40 BDT
N. Messenger says:
The reviewer seems to have his facts straight.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2013 09:48:52 BDT
I agree with you, yes atrocities did happen on both sides but the reality was with you being the position you were in there was only so much you could do, your orders where given for political reasons and you where just following orders. I agree with you 100% that the people on the Balkans are very warm and welcoming people because my family are from Croatia and before the conflict broke out war in Yugoslavia was hard to imagine, this is one of the reasons why I don't like this film because it gives people the wrong impression of the people there.
However I also agree with the reviewer about famous image of the extremely thin man in the refugee camp where as that image was instrumental in gathering public support for American airstrikes against the Serbs and the fact is the air strikes were purely for political reasons, various independent investigators come to the conclusion that it was nothing more then just a refugee gathering center where the refugees where sent there for there own protection from Serbian militia groups.
Two films I recommend that gives a more accurate portrayal of the conflict in Bosnia is Saviour and Pretty village pretty fire.
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3.0 out of 5 stars (12 customer reviews)
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