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The Weight of Chains is a Canadian documentary film that takes a critical look at the role that the US, NATO and the EU played in the tragic breakup of a once peaceful and prosperous European state - Yugoslavia. The film, bursting with rare stock footage never before seen by Western audiences, is a creative first-hand look at why the West intervened in the Yugoslav conflict, with an impressive roster of interviews with academics, diplomats, media personalities and ordinary citizens of the former Yugoslav republics. This film also presents positive stories from the Yugoslav wars - people helping each other regardless of their ethnic background, stories of bravery and self-sacrifice. Written by
An informative and heavily researched insight into a story of Western colonisation, war and the power of propaganda.
If you're not prepared to have your long-standing views regarding international politics and war in the Balkans challenged, then this film both IS and IS NOT for you.
You NEED to see this, but you might not like what you hear, which is ironically, exactly why you must see it.
I say this because 'The Weight of Chains' refuses to tow the line, oft laid-out by too many international media organisations and political bodies and disseminated to a generally ill-informed populus that is all too prepared to gobble-up what is served to them. Right off the bat, this means that many will immediately jump at the opportunity to label it as 'biased' and 'unbalanced', when in actual fact this could not be further from the truth.
The analysis of the internal and external political, social and economic factors that led to the break-up of Yugoslavia and the ongoing instability in the Balkans are well-explained within the film. It's a vivid depiction of the brutality of the conflicts that ravaged Yugoslavia in the 90s and continue today. As a viewer who resides in Australia and felt quite well-informed on the issue prior to watching the film, I was blown-away by it's quality and depth.
No conflict is black and white, there are always crimes on both sides in any war. The film neither denies that, nor celebrates it. The nature of war is that both sides fight and inevitably kill one another. Viewers will no doubt appreciate that 'The Weight of Chains' is not afraid to 'tell it as it is' and in doing so, challenge it's viewers' own biases and prejudices. It uses this as a platform to look at why events took place and what could have been done to prevent them, rather than simply who was to blame for them.
The film's wide-ranging and heavy use of evidence, research, first-hand accounts and interviews really defies any claims of propaganda or bias. Look at it as a cold case file that has been re-opened after several years - in light of new evidence and information, the account of what took place is clearer but also quite different to what was purported earlier. That's often tough for audiences and people in general to accept. In this sense, the film's approach outlines quite reasonably that Serbs have been unjustifiably demonised and that there is reason to question and investigate NATO, UN, US and EU actions not only in the former Yugoslavia, but all over the world. Surely most would agree, not unreasonable claims at all, especially when they're backed-up as well as they are.
Overall, this is a stellar look at a very complex issue by a film and director that seek to inform, rather than influence. Sadly, too few people are willing to let the truth get in the way of a good story. Fortunately, 'The Weight of Chains' provides both.
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