No Man's Land (2001)
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The Bosnia-Serbia conflict doesn't loom large in cinema, but No Man's Land by Bosnian director Danis Tanović feels like the last word on it. Not-very-good soldiers from both sides find themselves trapped in a middle trench together. One an all too impulsive Bosnian, the other a Serbian rookie in way over his head, their extended stand-off is mostly played as comedy. Then U.N. peacekeepers try to rescue them, journalists get wind of it, and the satire really takes off. Tanović evidently thinks the war was stupid and pointless, but even more so was foreign intervention and reporting on the conflict. Through his story, we find the whole thing quite laughable, but are also reminded of the tragic loss of life, so those laughs leave a bad taste in our mouths. Satire can be quite didactic, but the script humanizes everyone who gets a line, efficiently fleshing out characters so that it becomes impossible to know who will live, who will die, indeed who will be important to the story. In many ways an INACTION film, but with its novel setting and story and nimble juggling of tones, a war film that's easy to recommend.
As poignant as Judgment at Nuremberg (1961).
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #54 in Academy Award - Best International Feature Film
This movie ranks #91 in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #233 in Academy Award - Best International Feature Film Nominees
This movie ranks #763 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films