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Welcome To Sarajevo [DVD]
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"Brilliantly Made, Intensely Dramatic... Very Moving" - The Guardian
Stephen Dillane is British journalist Michael Henderson, who decides to risk everything to help the innocent people of a besieged city. With support from the flamboyant 'star' American journalist, Flynn (Woody Harrelson), and aid worker, Nina (Marisa Tomei), Henderson embarks on a perilous and terrifying journey to evacuate the city's orphan children to safety.
The film is inspired by the true story of ITV news reporter Michael Nicholson, who after months of reporting on the siege of Sarajevo, smuggled a child out of the war-torn city and later adopted her. However, the film is much more that a story of… more » one man's personal act of compassion, it is a harrowing and moving tribute to a city that refused to give in.
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Lest we forget the siege of Sarajevo happened less than 20 years ago, in our own back yard (and why did it take us so long to save the lives of the innocents?)
Just when you thought the end of WWII and the Fall of the Berlin Wall had brought an end to suffering in Europe, think again
This film is a reminder of to us all of what racial hatred can bring when allowed to get out of control....and it can happen again almost anywhere if we let it
The highly-pressured world of the international journalists who covered the war focuses the attention on what is 'news' especially when it was difficult to explore the many sides in the argument. A Royal divorce would engage audience attention in England much more than the suffering citizens of Sarajevo ; Henderson,a British journalist meets a girl in an orphanage and promises to get her back to England, even though he does not quite know how. Flynn, a gung-ho American reporter, probably cares about what is going on around him - the mortar fire,the shelling, the views of casual massacres - but is more interested in being a personality. Whatever the viewpoints, journalistic impartiality can be compromised because passion and emotion take over.
What comes out of the film also is the chaos of war. The bus taking children out of the war zone towards Italy is stopped by Serb irregulars and some of them are removed from the bus ; the aid worker can do nothing about it, as there is no effective armed escort just as no one can stop a Serb soldier shooting down hostages who are tied together. There are several shocking images like this as there were in 'Salvador' . It was great that at least one child escaped the carnage only for Henderson to have to return to Sarajevo in order to find the girl's mother who wanted her back in order for her to sign the adoption papers. A tiny part of the war was resolved but 35,000 other children died.
The film was not designed as a history lesson and other films have gone over similar territory but this was an effective piece as it tried to establish a 'truth' ; unfortunately, ascertaining this truth was a complex operation. The 'truth' was what the photo-journalists said it was but did not present the whole picture. That fact emerged strongly.Snapshots
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