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Five people are affected by a tragic heroic act. 12 years later, each of them will have to confront the past, through their own crisis. Will they overcome the guilt, frustration, urge for revenge? Will they do the right thing, at all costs? Written by
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
In a war-infested country, behind the lines, a soldier on leave interferes to save the life of an innocent man from another ethnic group, being beaten by his fellow soldiers. He ends up being beaten to death instead.
20 years after the war, one finds himself thinking about who were the true war heroes. An utterly pointless act, to risk your own life in a havoc in which a human life is wasted in the blink of an eye, for someone you barely know, is something one can see only on screen. In reality, most of us are those who watch, who witness, but dare not interfere.
One man did interfere, and lost his life, seemingly pointlessly. The only child of a widowed father, with a fiancée whose life would become a sad and tragic story of a drifter afterwards, and the gang of murderers sentenced to ridiculously short sentences. Was it worth it, are good deeds worth it in general? There's an ironic English proverb saying that no good deed goes unpunished. But the story tells that even a rock thrown in water makes circles that grow and spread. In this case, circles of compassion that go through space and time and inspire many. Circles that help us find inner courage to stand up to injustice, that help us find the compassion to restrain us in revenge upon the innocent.
This film was inspired by a true story. The story of Srđan Aleksić, a Serbian soldier on leave who was beaten to death in 1993 by his fellow men, while trying to save Alen Glavović, an innocent Muslim civilian, who was being beaten before him. Out of the four rascals, only one expressed regret in the court. Ironically, he was the only one to meet death shortly, within a couple of months, shot on the front line, where all four were sentenced to. Srđan's father wrote in his son's obituary "He died fulfilling his human duty".
The circles that the rock of Srđan's deed made are those which eventually made him the only war-hero respected and cared for on all the opposed sides. What strikes me most were Christ's words that "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." Those circles keep showing us that such deeds of the greatest love are possible and were made by a man who had lived among us, and who never lived to see his family growing and his children being born, unlike us, the silent witnesses, who take so much pride in love we feel and share.
The names are altered and the rest of the story is entirely fictional. Being a person from the region, there was little in the film for me not to be fully understood and grasped. Therefore, I am somewhat reluctant to recommend it to worldwide audience, fearing if its universal message would break through the local context it took place in. But I do. Here is an excellent, slow and heavy Serbian drama with little action, much dialogue and fine acting, telling us the aftermath of a well known story, and circles of compassion, forgiveness, courage and inner purification.
R.I.P. Srđan Aleksić 1966 1993
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