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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was the movie that I wanted to see because it had won the 2001
Best Oscar for Foreign Language Film during the same year an Indian
movie called Lagaan was the top contender for the Oscars. Fortunately I
got to see this movie after a period of six years.
The story is about the war between Serbia and Bosnia. Three soldiers are caught 2 Bosnians Muslims and one Serb in a no-man's land patch. All are injured and one Bosnian soldier is laid on a live land mine. UN comes to help, the TV and media land up, the Bosnian and Serbian soldier die and the one of the land mine is left to die by UN because there is no way to rescue him.
It is a deeply moving story and a good exposure to the war in general. It has human drama, of hate between human beings who are no different and not born to hate and kill each other. Both Serbian and Bosnian soldiers blame each other of starting the war. But the main villains of the story emerge out to be the pathetic bureaucracy of UN Peace Keeping Force, and the media who are waiting as vultures.
The first time Director of a full length feature film - Danis Tanovic, does a good job in covering gamut of issues surrounding the Serb and Bosnia war. He shows guts in exposing the ineffective UN machinery. Danis worked for 2 years on the war zone, and his experience helped in making the fictional movie very authentic in looks.
The three main stars Branko Djuric as Bosnian Ciki, Rene Bitorajac as Serb Nino and Filip Sovagovic as Bosnian Cera (lying down on the live land mine) do a marvelous job in acting. The emotions and feelings are showcased raw.
The musical score is minimal but the beginning and ending title music is haunting. Did this movie deserve an Oscar above Lagaan? Was Lagaan a better movie than No Man's Land? It must have had been a tough call for the Oscar panel to choose between Lagaan and No Man's Land. Lagaan was a wholesome Indian entertainer. It has music, emotions, human triumph, joy, celebrations, contest, good bad, morals and a happy ending feeling. Whereas No Man's Landing was more contemporary more western in its images, more relevant to the war debates of US. I think the panel must have related to No Man's Land much more than Lagaan.
Surely if the panel of Oscar was universal Lagaan would have bagged the Oscars. But America rules they decide the panel and they award a movie. It remains a posterior history now! (Stars 7 out of 10)
This movie is amazing. One moment you're scared, then laughing, then in tears. No censorship, no politically correct stuff, this is raw. Shows the horror of the Bosnian war as seen from the soldiers of boh sides and the peacekeepers. A must see.
One of the most eerie resolutions to a film that I've ever seen. This film
is more than just one of the only depictions of the Bosnian/Serbian
struggle: this movie is about the selfishness of humanity. It takes a dive
into the upheaval of indifference, and reveals the true childishness of
This was very well written, with dramatic elements as well as stark wit. This is more than a dark comedy, but a realistic depiction. I guess life is often dark and amusing, I don't know. Anyway, it's one of the best scripts of the year, that's for sure. The photography is always fluid, but very slow; which, in a way, fits the stories tempo. I loved the acting and i loved how terrible the ending was. (storywise, i'm not badmouthing the movies chosen ending.)
More people need to see this film, as it was quite under-rated. One of the best films of 2001, amidst many good films.
For people who want to see in a film more than a bad boy with a gun and
attitude, or "I love her, and she loves a bad guy, but I win at the end, a
part XVII, specially customized for teenagers" story.
I give it 10 of 10, for presenting a nice and funny way very serious
such as a role of UN in the world today, and job description of UN
No Man's Land is a great, amazing and fascinating black-humor war movie I
have ever watched. It talks about two soldiers from different sides (Serbian
and Bosnian), and their struggling for each country. What I liked the most
is that DANIS TANOVIC, who is Bosnian director, did not refer positively on
his homeland, you can see the balance between those two sides. However, the
film is full with symbolics and the storyline is interesting with some black
humor in it. Performances are also great, specially Branko Djuric, who was
nominated for European Film Award. Too bad he didn't win. People who
understand this symbolic film, they will see and discover the real picture
of suffering and agony in this 4-year war against Bosnia. I am so glad Danis
could find the excellent way to show it, through symbolism.
"No Man's Land" may be the first great post-Cold War anti-war film,
where the root of war is shown as out and out irrational hatred,
leaving civilized folks plotzing in the middle.
The first fiction film by a theater director- turned soldier- turned documentarian, the complicated Yugoslav situation feels completely authentic. The multi-national cast of craggy characters is mostly full-blooded individuals, with their varying languages and communication attempts an ongoing joke ("You speak English of course?" the Frenchman continually asks sadly.)
This movie grimly brings to life the joke about how an EU conference can be good or bad -- good, if the food is catered by the French, organized by the Germans, etc. etc. or bad if the Brits do the food, the Italians organize it, etc. etc. There are strays into stereotypes -- the ineffectual public school British general representing the UN trailed by his leggy assistant and the Brit woman news reporter is a replay of Nora Dunn's role in "Three Kings" (though I liked her subtle flirting with the just-trying-to-do-the-right-thing French officer). The Serbian is the not the usual war criminal thug, which would have been easier, and the Serbians' aggressive role in the conflict is barely implied rather than blamed.
Amazingly, the movie is both very funny (like "M.A.S.H") and very tense with no easy ending or answers as no one wins. War is hell, even against bad guys. And for individual soldier pawns, futile. As I heard Norman Thomas say at the first anti-war rally I went to in 1965: "These pawns bleed." This also reminded me of one of my favorite "Star Trek: The Original Series" episodes, with Frank Gorshin. Ah, plus c'est change. . . Sadly, the theater was virtually empty over two showings.
(originally written 1/13/2002)
It is not every day that you take home a boatload of awards for your
first feature film, but that is what writer/director Danis Tanovic did,
including an Oscar and a Golden Globe for best foreign film.
This is just about the best anti-war film I have ever seen. It shows the utter stupidity and foolishness of war in that two soldiers, both who knew the same girl, both who spoke the same language, and both who looked and acted and sounded the same were bitter enemies. I have to think back to the Civil War in America, where I had cousins fighting on both sides to see the utter ignorance that war is all about.
Two soldiers, actually three, but he was thought to be dead, end up in a trench in the middle of the Bosnian-Serbian war. The UN Observers get involved, the press is all over it, and the futility of armed aggression is played out in a way that was funny and sad. The ending is a powerful statement on war and should be seen more than once to bring home how we solve nothing when we stop talking and start shooting.
No man's land is a great movie and the Oscar this movie won as best foreign language film is totally deserved.The story is totally unpredictable on its development.The film has great messages about the war,its motives and its consequences.Another excellent element is the sense of humor this film has.The performances are great and the spectator can identify with the characters.The direction is perfect and it manages all the elements to produce emotions on the spectator.Without big solemnity,No man's land transmits perfectly the messages to the spectator.A great movie against war which tells a very fun story and with greatly developed characters.
This film is stark and to the point of everything that is wrong in the world today. It is as true now as it was in 2001 as it was in 1990, 1965, 1945, 1917 and so on an so fourth. This film made me laugh, it made me shout and it left me feeling angry and helpless. In short it make you feel! It is well acted and directed and haunts you long after the final scene. The underlying message is that it all boils down to communication. If one does not understand what is being said how can anyone offer help or come to any kind of agreement. Even when the characters communicate through a secondary language, they can't know what is being said, as they do not understand the history or culture of their presumed enemy or friend. This film shines a bright light on this often over looked fact and exposes those who think that they are there to help. How can you help if you do not understand the problem.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A group of Bosnian soldiers were lost in the fog. The next day they
found they were in the shoot range of enemy (Serb). Under heavy attack,
Ciki struggled to crawl into the trench between two lines. Then Serb
officer decided to dispatch two soldiers to look over. The rookie Nino
was chosen. The Serb veteran put a self-made land mine under a seeming
dead body of a Bosnian soldier in the trench. After brief exchanging
fire, Ciki and Nino survived. Although Ciki wanted to save his wounded
companion, how to remove the awesome land mine was a great challenge.
Their situation also attracted the attention of UN peace troop.
The unexpected ending was really a huge satire. The war is always brutal. However if the mankind loses the humanity, the world will be hopeless.
The movie was worthy of winning the best foreign language film (Oscar award).
A thought-provoking movie. 8/10
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