Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1993 at the time of the heaviest fighting between the two warring sides. Two soldiers from opposing sides in the conflict, Nino and Ciki, become trapped in no man's land, whilst a third soldier becomes a living booby trap.
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After various skirmishes, two wounded soldiers, one Bosnian and one Serb, confront each other in a trench in the no man's land between their lines. They wait for dark, trading insults and even finding some common ground; sometimes one has the gun, sometimes the other, sometimes both. Things get complicated when another wounded Bosnian comes to, but can't move because a bouncing mine is beneath him. The two men cooperate to wave white flags, their lines call the UN (whose high command tries not to help), an English reporter shows up, a French sergeant shows courage, and the three men in no man's land may or may not find a way to all get along. Written by
You started this war!... No, YOU started this war!!
First of all, I think it's a shame that this film isn't listed under its Slovenian title 'Nikogarsnja zemlja'. Anyway, what we have here is quite an impressive piece of work. Danis Tanovic wrote and directed a debut that easily is one of the best films since the new Millennium. Seemly without trying, Tanovic succeeds in bringing what so many other directors desperately attempt and fail: namely a satirical attack on the absurdity and uselessness of war! But without losing grip on the suspenseful and credible story, an that's an extra achievement. The story is simple but efficient and stuffed with little ingenious findings and subtle sarcasm. No Man's Land involves three soldiers two Bosnians and one Serb trapped in a trench between the two fronts. One of the Bosnians is wounded and lying on a mine that will explode and kill everybody in a range of 50 metres. While he carefully tries not to move an inch, the other two soldiers are bickering about what side actually began the war. There's a group of UN soldiers trying to help them but these people are constantly facing obstacles, intrusive press people and obnoxious superiors that prevent them from saving the trapped soldiers. Tanovic sense of clever dialogue and his courage to openly condemn the situation in his homeland make this one of the most admirable films of the last few decades. I'm really really glad that this No Man's Land won the Academy Award for best foreign language film over that dreadfully over-hyped 'Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain'. One of the best choices the Academy ever made!
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