Friday, November 12, 2004

No Man's Land

Does the phrase ring a bell? Ok the phrase is actually the title of a movie based on the Bosnian crisis and more importantly from a desi perspective, beat Lagaan for the Oscar.

There are not many movies that occupies your thoughts long after they get over. Only the special ones manage to do that and this is one movie which falls into that category. If I were on the Oscar jury, I would have definitely cast my vote for this movie rather than Gowariker's Lagaan.

Ok enough said about how good the movie is. Now let's get to the plot.

A Bosnian platoon is bombed heavily by the Serbian artillery division as they walk towards a trench located between the Serbian and Bosnian fences. Only two Bosnians survive the onslaught. Ciki (Branko Djuric) gets shot in the shoulder but he manages to get into the trench. Ciki's friend Cera also survives but barely, he is badly injured and unconscious. The Serbian camp are not sure whether they killed all the Bosnians, so, they send two of their soldiers to go to the trench and check if there are any survivors. The Serbian commander walks into the mess and asks for two volunteers but no one acknowledges his presence, they all have a smirk on their faces and resume eating.The director captures the mood of the Serbian camp brillantly-they are a tired lot who just want to go home and get on with their life. The irritated commander picks two guys, Mustafa Naderevic an experienced soldier and Nino a green horn (who just joined camp that very day) for the task. Nino and Mustafa reluctantly crawl towards the trench, on seeing them Ciki hides. He patiently watches the two Serbian soldiers rummaging through the trench searching for survivors. Mustafa concludes that everyone is dead and gets hold of some bouncing mines from a bag. He then goes on about expounding his worldly wisdom on bombs and mines to young Nino. Mustafa thinks that Cera(the other Bosnaian survivor) is dead and plants a mine beneath Cera's body. He then proudly tells Nino of his cynical booby trapping capabailities. Meanwhile, Ciki manages to get hold of a gun and comes out in the open and shoots Nino and Mustafa. Mustafa dies but Nino gets shot in the abdomen and loses a lot of blood.

So there are two Bosnians and one Serbian stuck in no mans land and to make things worse one guy has a mine underneath him and if he moves everyone in the vicinty gets blown away. They have no one to trust, no way to escape without getting shot.The film takes a satirical view from the perspective of a Bosnian, Serbian, the media and the UN peace keepers.It is amazing how the director Tanovic has managed to shed light on an unbearably tense issue with a comic and satiric undertone. I do not want narrate the rest of the story as it would be really boring to read all the detail. But every frame in the movie is soaked with angst, helplessness, hope and bitterness. It reminded me of Animal Farm by George Orwell.

There is this one scene where Ciki asks Cera how he is feeling. Cera's answer " I am feeling great, I was shot and I lost consciousness, whan I wake up I have a fucking mine beneath me , I want to shit but I can't move and inspite of all this I have to listen to your bullshit"
Cera played by Filip Sovagovic does not move an inch the whole movie but the range of emotions he manages to convey is laudable. Sample this, he wants to scratch his lower back and so he asks Ciki to do it for him.
Cera:" lower, yeah...oooh...aah a little higher...yeah there...yeah thats the spot oooh aah"
Ciki(dutifuly scratching Cera)
Cera: " Hey Ciki I need to use the toilet "
Ciki(perplexed): "Uh ok piss in your pants"
Cera:"No its the other"
Ciki(immediately stops scratching Cera):" Ok do it"
Cera(sighs):"Its easy for you to say"

Here is a guy who has to wallow in his own shit because of a stupid and meaningless war. The United Nations peace keeping forces will not do anything because they do not want to be undimplomatic and as always the instruction given to their soldiers is "Sit on it!"

Hats off to Tanovic to make a film that is blackly satirical and hauntingly real!


Blogger Beopenguin said...

While it's a great movie....Ameile should of won the best Forgien Oscar that year. :p

2:42 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Site Counter
Website Counter