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Harrison's Flowers (2000)
Works as a love story...
This movie must be seen as a love story more than anything else, and it works as a love story. However, to get an accurate picture of the war between Yugoslavia and Croatia, Harrison's Flowers is not suited. Those familiar with the history of the former Yugoslavia know that war crimes took place in and around Vukovar, and in 1991-92, Serbian nationalist paramilitaries of Arkan were responsible for heinous crimes. However, the movie is very one-sided, and Serbians are presented as half-drunk criminal villains while Croatians get the image of brave freedom fighters. In fact, the vast majority of movies portray Serbians as the villains, but I would claim that Croatians are maybe even more nationalistic than the Serbs. Those who watch the movie should know that Croatians were also responsible for killing civilians, especially during Operation Storm in 1995.
I have gained operational experience myself as a war correspondent, and I know what is like to be under fire from mortars, artillery and snipers. Therefore I was very surprised to see how the reporters and photographers from the movie entered Vukovar wearing military camouflages trying to hide from snipers. I don't know any reporters who would do it like this because it makes you a legitimate target, and I doubt experienced reporters from Newsweek would do it like that. The goal of a journalist in a war area is to be seen. Yes, sometimes you have to avoid checkpoints to get to the other side, but to wear a military uniform is very, very stupid.
Now it has been a couple of days since I wrote my review, and there was another thing that bothered me in this movie. Sarah lands in the city of Graz in Austria making her way all through Croatia to get to Vukovar. If she really wanted to save her husband, it would have been a lot easier to get to Belgrade. From Belgrade there is only a two-hour drive to Vukovar, and the city was controlled by the Serbs at this point. I just spoke to a friend of mine who was an officer in Vukovar, and he said it would have been no problem for the character in the movie to get to Vukovar. Even if there were some paramilitaries present, the Yugoslav army, JNA, was in control.
For more about the Battle of Vukovar, Wikipedia has an interesting article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vukovar