Plot is set in former Yugoslavia, at the end of the Yugoslav Wars. See more »
Near the start when B and Sophie are driving along the cliff, the aerial shot shows the cliff to be on the left of the road. Then a shot from inside the car shows trees in the background where the cliff was. The when they stop in front of the dead cow, the cliff is on the right side. See more »
Gritty but authentic examination of aid work in a war zone
I just saw a Spanish film that probably enjoyed a limited release in the U.S., although the dialogue is mostly in English – A Perfect Day. In the film, a team of aid workers faces a problem, a corpse is contaminating a well that provides the only potable water in the region, since two other wells are surrounded by mines and cannot be used. The film follows the group as they try to obtain a rope to lift the body out of the well, and examines the difficulties of executing such a small task in a war zone, in this case, the waning days of the Bosnian conflict.
The film resonated with me on several levels. First, of course, I live in the Balkans now, so the language and setting was familiar. (Now I know "konopac" means rope and "bunar" means well!) The landscape in some of the scenes was amazing, and makes me curious to see more of Bosnia now. Second, the cast itself is multinational, reflecting the multinational character of international assistance efforts. This is familiar to me too, since I work in a multinational OSCE Mission. The civilian-military interaction was all too familiar, as were the many scenes with Stryker armored personnel carriers, a common sight during my time in Iraq.
I thought the film provided a very good feel for the frustrations of development work in a war setting. In addition, the dialogue and acting were great. The impressive cast features American Tim Robbins, Spaniard Benicio del Toro, Ukrainian Olga Kurylenko (who was a Bond girl in A Quantum of Solace), Frenchwoman Melanie Thierry, and Bosnian Fedja Stukan. At one point, one of the characters, seeing Olga Kurylenko for the first time, mutters under his breath, "And so where is she from – Models without Borders?" The sub-plot involving the young Bosnian boy, Nikola, who attaches himself to the team, is also great.
This is a powerful film that is authentic in its treatment. I recommend it.
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