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Reviews & Ratings for
Pretty Village, Pretty Flame More at IMDbPro »Lepa sela lepo gore (original title)

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145 out of 149 people found the following review useful:

Poignant and painful

Author: Little E from York, England
10 November 1998

This movie was stunning. Foreign films are usually seen as so difficult to grasp and inaccessible, but this managed to hold everything together. At two and a bit hours, it sometimes seems to go on, but the finale is worth it. People laughed and people cried. It was beautiful.

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116 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

One of the most powerful war films ever made!

Author: NateManD from Bloomsburg PA
6 April 2005

Director Srdjan Dragojevic's Bosnian war film "Pretty Village, Pretty Flame" is an amazing movie about two friends separated by the cost of war. Milan is Serbian, and Halil is Muslim. They are best friends, and we learn much about them through flashbacks in the story. The movie is shown out of sequence, so we see Milan in the hospital, and through the various flashbacks we witness what got him to the hospital. One of the films images which stands out in my mind, is the beginning with the opening of the 1980 peace tunnel. During the celebration the man cuts his finger instead of the ribbon. Then we are forced to move unto the present where peace is far from any mindset. Both friends as children are afraid to go into a tunnel, for they fear an ogre lives in there. All grown up and in the heat of battle, Milan and his squad hide from the Muslims in that particular tunnel, only to be trapped there for days in a grueling stand off between the Serbs and Muslims. They almost become the ogres. Mulan remembers the good times with Halil, before the war broke out. A medical supply truck driven by a recovering junkie gets trapped in the cave also with a female American journalist who is hidden inside. The film is very realistic, but at the same time manages to throw in some dark comedy. Even when Mulan is in the hospital and can hardly move from injuries, he is still hellbent on killing a Bosnian soldier who is in the next room over. All he can think about is his mother and his family who is dead, and his fellow comrade who is almost dead. His other friend, the professor comforts him and tries to convince him that revenge is not worth it. From that point on the film grows more psychologically disturbing. There is so much in this film, that it is hard to describe unless you've seen it or understand the Bosnian conflict. "Pretty Village, Pretty Flame" is far from a typical Hollywood war film. Although the film is told through the view of the Serbian side, No military act is justified. This has to be one of the saddest films I have ever seen. Another image that haunts me even after the film has ended, is the scene where the ground is covered head to toe with dead corpses, including children. Emotional accordion music plays in the background, as the brutal nature of war is shown in a way a Hollywood film would never be able to. "Pretty Village Pretty Flame" is one of the best and underrated war films of all time. See it to remind yourself of how sad and terrible war is. It's a tense dramatic film that stays with you, long after it's over 10/10

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104 out of 116 people found the following review useful:


Author: pajcin from America
20 June 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Being of Serbian heritage, and being born in the U.S.A, I can say that I've seen many films on both sides. America has the Vietnam film, and so a film like THE DEER HUNTER can be said tha it is the best Vietnam film of all time. So, it can be said that Pretty Village... is the best film about the Bosnian war! My family took in a Serbian Soldier that was wonded during that war, lost a leg and eye in battle, and the stories he told are eerily silimar to this film.

I am also a film maker, and I can say that over the many years of seeing brilliant films, this one is one of the best. The film cuts back and forth like a pendulam.... showing us just enough of each character's past to understand why they joined the army... and why they are now starving in a tunnel. The film is heavy on symbolisim... the tunnel represents all that was lost with the break up of Yugoslavia. It represents what ONCE WAS... and now is the setting of a tragic battle.

The film begins with a story about a wedding party that was killed... and yes, its true, a Serbian wedding party was killed before the war broke out... this lead to the bloody conflict. The film captures all the right aspects of the war. It can be said that this film is up there with Emir Kusterica's UNDERGROUND as one of the best films from the former Yugoslavia. Also, not a strange coincedence at the end of the film. This film was shot before the Kosovo conflict... a couple of years before.... but in the end, a image of the tunnel is shown being RE-OPEN! A narrator says that the Tunnel was being re-opened for the international community.... then a man cuts his thumb on the ribbon.... just as he did at the start. The meaning behind this is suppose to indicate that another conflict would errupt in that region! The narrator said the year was 1999. Funny how the film predicted that something would happen that year... which it did: KOSOVO! That is very bizarre!

If you want to see a gripping, and tragic, and painful film... see Pretty Village, Pretty Flame! It is unlike anything you've ever seen!

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86 out of 87 people found the following review useful:

One of the best war movies ever

Author: bob_marli from Copenhagen, Denmark
20 October 2006

Don't let the low marks take you away from this masterpiece - look at stars assignment, and you will get the picture.

If you expect black and white war movie, forget it. For me, this is by far most objective movie about civil war(s) in ex-Yugoslavia, better then Bosnian (good) "No man's land" and Macedonian (masterpiece) "Before the rain". At the beginning, you will see Serbs burning villages (that explain title of movie) and killing people, but, from middle to end, you will see completely same behavior done by Bosnian Muslims. Brilliance of this movie is because it shows you why this war was so bloody and why it is so hard to have peace and reconciliation after all. Every killing, every murder, has story behind, and movie gather them all. You have pure communist (Bata Zivojinovic) against his fellow officer, you have two best friends (Nikola Bjelogrlic - Bosnian Serb, Nikola Pejakovic - Bosnian Muslim) against each other, you have urban freaks, you have junkies, you have educated teacher, you have everything you need. Every one of them has his own reason to be there, but at the end, they all end completely empty, with only pure hate inside.

I suppose that some things from movie will be hard to get if you are not from Balkan. For example, Index (that's name of the bend) song that Nikola Kojo sing using gun as mice, was one of the greatest classics in ex-Yu (and lyrics fit the scene perfectly: "And tonight, if she listen, let her hear the pain..."). Some sentences are very hard to translate. For example, in joke scene, when Zoran Cvijanovic (junkie) want to insult Bosnian Muslim soldiers, he tell them joke that begins with "Check this out: Blonde, I mean Fata the Blonde, come to party..." Fata is Muslim name, but is obvious that joke was first intended as joke abound blonde woman, but he upgraded it in the moment. Also, in one scene you can see Serbian skinheads that are kicking traffic table with "Zagreb" (Croatian capital) written on it. Two are holding the table, one is hitting it by the head, and they are all singing "We f*cked Tajci! We f*cked Tajci!" Tajci was ex-Yu singer from Croatia that represented country on Eurovision competition few years before war started. Also, most of the scenes are extremely dark and funny at the same time, but that's Serbian humor in general.

Even without this small hints, movie still remain pure classic, to me comparable only with "Apocalypse now" and "Platoon" by its objectivity. It is very fast movie, easy to watch and hard to understand, as Balkan always was. I hope you will enjoy.

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86 out of 88 people found the following review useful:

great and painful movie

Author: jebiga from east lansing
18 January 1999

even if you were not on balkans - ex-Yugoslavia, this movie will 'hurt' you... and if you are from there - it just kills you, makes you feel pain, and laugh at the same time... it is about a great country that does not exist anymore - and maybe never existed, and about OGRE from the tunnel whick lives in each and every one of us. the subtitles (for USA) are not the first class.the translation could have been done better. anyway great movie.

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58 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

Real picture of War, if You wanna see it?

Author: Joselito Duric from Budapest, Hungary
28 April 2002

As a man who was participating this conflict and I can only say that this movie more realistically pictures the war in Bosnia, then any other ever. Every time I watch this movie, it makes my heart beats so strong like I'm there again and revives all the memories forgotten long time ago. The whole story try's to explain this conflict from very essence of our people, covering various aspects of how different people have got involved in this war. Off course I can't really say that 'explanation' really exists, but if it does this is the place to start from. There are some exaggerated moments, but they are so rhythmically composed, that whole picture at the end becomes very strong and logical.

I believe many viewers won't be able to accept this story, but that's their problem, I guess... For those who are openminded, not prejudiced and ready to see the other side of medal (whatever it might be!), this can be a masterclass lesson not only about the war, but about the hidden human nature, that most of people never have a 'chance' to find in themselves, but it undoubtfully exists in each of us!

For people who liked this movie, I can even more recommend other Dragojevic's masterpiece - 'Rane' ('Wounds'), which is not a typical war movie, but from other side of view gives story never spoken so far.

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50 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

must see take on the Bosnian war

Author: beatnik-4 from California
10 May 1999

A very powerful film. One of the best war/anti-war films I can remember, and there are a lot of them. Worth watching if only for a fantasy scene resembling a music video when over a rock song that translates essentially as "their dancing to rock and roll in jugoslavia and everything is going down the hole."

Mix of starkly realistic war footage and very black comedy. Essential for anyone who wants to understand any of the Balkan wars.

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53 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

A different and more realistic take on the war in Yugoslavia

Author: SladoledMan from Cleveland, Ohio
18 October 2001

What an absolutely amazing and realistically poignant take on the war in the former Yugoslavia. Being of Serbian descent this movie is considered an epic by our people. With all the anti-Serbian propaganda that was spewed by the media and by other movie directors that have done films about this horrific war, it was gratifying to my nationalistic side to see a movie that told it like it really was. This is one of the first movies since maybe Platoon or Apocalypse Now that shows the true damage that war can do to the human psyche. The soldiers were seen as regular guys with regular lives before the war and not as Balkan Brutes which the western media has portrayed them as many times. What made it more believable was the fact that the people fighting in this war (Serbs and Croats) were as close as brothers before the war, and seeing the reaction of the characters to each other during the war seemed very believable.

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43 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

By far, the best movie to come out of the Balkan wars

Author: hadzija from Croatia
23 July 2007

I've seen it again today. I've seen it ten years ago when it first came out. On a 17x copied VHS bootleg tape, and now on DVD. Without going into details, I can only say this is one of the movies that I've seen many times and each time I see it it strikes me as the best of the best. It's multi layered and highly symbolic at times, due to that, the only ones to understand it fully are people that have a good understanding of the Balkan wars and/or the mentality of the characters. Some see it as pro-Serbian propaganda, other see it as anti-Serbian. And that alone makes it worth watching for me. Anyways, it's a chilling and wonderful masterpiece. Sad, bleak, darkly humorous at times but very very VERY good.

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43 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Great film

Author: ric-euteneuer ( from CAMBS, UK
23 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As mentioned in other reviews, this is an excellent anti-war film told from the Serbian perspective - very much like 'Stalingrad' another anti-war film told from the German perspective. In a black and white world, this film shows that there were and are shades of grey; that previous to the wars in Yugoslavia, there was relative ethnic peace and harmony and that people exploited ethnic divisions for their own ends. The Serbs trapped in the aforementioned tunnel are the different archetypes of the forces in Bosnia at that type - the pro-unitary Yugoslavia Commander; the Chetnik nationalist, the Academic, the wheeler dealer, and the junkie, brought together by this terrible war. And of course the naive American reporter.

This film is by no means Serbian propaganda - if anything, it's pro-Yugoslav propaganda - atrocities were committed on all sides against all sides - even Muslim against Muslim.

It reminds me once of an anecdote I heard from a Bosnian Muslim reporter who took some American reporters to the site of a massacre of Muslims by the Serbs, and then offered to take them to a similar site of where Serbs had been slaughtered by Muslim forces. The reporters weren't interested in the latter, as it made things 'too complicated' apparently. The US press are only interested in simple, easy to understand good guys vs bad guys.


The fact that Halil, the former best friend of the main character Milan, kills himself at the end, torn as he was between friendship and kindship really illustrates the futility of this type of war, that never should have been allowed to happen by all protagonists.

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