When war correspondents move on to their next conflict, a more personal struggle is just beginning for those left behind. Poverty, PTSD, and political corruption continue to stifle recovery nearly 20 years after the brutal civil war in Bosnia Herzegovina. Luckily for some in the small mountain town of Livno, an unorthodox leader has emerged, giving struggling veterans and their community an unlikely path to healing. A paramilitary leader at the young age of 20, Lija led the successful defense of his town while neighbors fell to the invading forces. Today he heads the Wolves, a motorcycle club that resembles the stereotype in rough image only. Under his leadership, this wild crew has become a positive force for good with a self-defined humanitarian focus. One mission captures their spirit more than any other. In the mountains where they once fought, they now defend a herd of wild horses that society has similarly deemed expendable. A harsh environment, poachers, and urbanization ...Written by
It's actually a rather basic universal premise. We have worldwide wars, veterans that have to navigate life afterwards, given no choice in the matter. Often suffering fallout of their experience but also, unfortunately, often either neglected, tossed away, or given little thought by society at large. I'd imagine they are seeking to find out "what NOW?"!
Well these men find a way to continued purpose, humanity & community as a motorcycle group basically whose objective is continued charitable good deeds. Yes, at the center of focus is assisting & caring for horses otherwise neglected & left to their own devices (no coincidence identifying much of their own fate for survival).
Plus there's a profound feeling of enlightenment, peace & calm to witness any of them among the horses they decide & seek to protect. Yes, it's quite metaphorical as they truly DO mirror the strength & endurance of not just these very men but maybe too, of those of us navigating this world, given a variety of various woes & obstacles, in all its complexities. Still yes, these horses represent, in particular, the men's towering resilience, strength, unfailing endurance & I think, dignity & nobility. They are a powerful sight to behold.
They inform us as they so choose, there is nothing manipulative or sentimental on screen here to behold. Just their unvarnished truth. Brilliant filmmaking decision; more documentaries should go that route. I saw no agenda except to tell a story, their story & in fact, get & stay out of the way, let it simply unfold. Be patient as it does, there is much reward awaiting you.
Such respect to allow these men to show you their lives as they saw fit. And human they are---warts & all-- same as each one of us, no matter what our circumstance.
There are things we share just by the mere reality of being human & living life in a complicated world. That includes often confounding, debilitating war, conflict & political landscape.
To me, powerful & quietly moving.
Many moments can be quite subtle as life typically is. Often that is what most packs a punch.
I could relate.
Lastly, it did make me want to read up more about the Bosnian war/s, the veterans, its people, its culture, its political, economic & sociological outlook for their future, its land. And thus, I did. Glad I did so, I learned much.
So yes, this documentary left me caring about not just the men (the horses! The orphanages & kids, the society!) but went well beyond its limited scope. It taught me more about an unremarkable (ah..but actually remarkable!) group, a place & persons I'd otherwise not have known.
Elucidating moments I'm glad to have experienced, that I wish for others & more for myself. We all are better knowing more about each other. That is, in fact, what builds bridges instead of walls. I have no doubt there will always be pride, war---that, conflict will remain but part of the solution falls in understanding the world at large, its people in every corner of it.
The better we know our fellow man, the less likely we are to invoke violence upon them, even our own neighbors. But yeah, that might be my getting too preachy, too philosophical in general. The same mistake cannot be make of this. It was my personal take-away, perhaps your own far from that.
I struggle to properly convey that this can be a WORLD story, it's that relatable. I'm, however, glad it belongs to them as I now know more about this area & its people. The veterans in the outlying areas we hardly get glimmer of insight into. They deserve it, much as we all do.
I felt privileged to know them here.
Understanding can lead us a long way.
The filmmaker, I think, navigated this project wisely by again, having left this basically in their widely capable hands. Their voice, their slices of life as designed & chosen only by them alone to share with us. I see it as their film. Again, no offense or discredit to those creating it. Still l rather ingenious approach.
We all (OK, most of us!)l need purpose, to feel useful and part of something larger. That we can make a difference. And if we don't feel such way, good to see acts to inspire that motivation inside each of us.
I left there moved, grateful for this opportunity to learn of their experience. Also, highly appreciative to benefit a Q & A with the filmmaker afterward who clarified & expounded on some of the minor questions lingering in my mind. What he shared, as well as the audience's input, quite incisive bonus to my unique film experience.
Highly recommended for the discerning audience who is seeking more than routine, predictable movies that, upon further inspection, in fact, leave us little to nothing. Sadly, sometimes not even "entertained" which as a sole objective, is sadly a low bar to ascribe & measure up to.
I believe you will reflect long after viewing, what I feel anyhow, amazing men of towering, stoic strength, contemplation, camaraderie & most vitally,
good-will on screen. Inspiring! How refreshing as well, in the end, it's life affirming.
Transporting pain, maybe torment into something of utility & good deeds. What more can we want from others who've seen dark places?
The fact is, We ARE all in this together (this world & our communities), and to have this theme interwoven with the horses they care for--well nothing falls into place better.
OH and lastly I'd be remiss if I failed to mention the the photography & cinematography. It commands you see it preferably IN a theater if at all possible. You will be glad of choosing such simple effort. All said, if that's not possible, see it in any format available to you.
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