Kino Bosna VIII: Nicija Zemlja (2001)

Posted on September 5, 2012


This won an Oscar! Well, we can pretend for a moment as if that actually meant something. ‘Nicija Zemlja’ (or ‘No Man’s Land, to give it the English title) is a film set during the Bosnian Civil War, and the majority of it takes place in a trench between the frontlines. Trapped in this trench are 3 soldiers, 2 Bosnian Muslims and a Bosnian Serb. One Muslim soldier and the Bosnian Serb are both fairly mobile and spend a lot of time arguing about the war and various other things. The catch however, is the other Muslim soldier. He is lying prone in the middle of the trench, unfortunately lay on top of a bouncing mine that will detonate if he moves off it, destroying everything in a 50 metre radius. Unfortunate. The second half of the film focuses on the bungled efforts of the international community and media, as the sheer incompetence of the UNPROFOR comes to light. Whilst there are elements of dark comedy throughout (this is a Balkan film after all), this is a very serious, very dark movie. It’s also a bloody good one.

WHAT I THOUGHT WAS BUFF: The humour throughout is really well done, especially the constant ‘who has a gun?’ refrain. The catch-22 esque dilemma is also a thing of terrible genius. The film manages to do what I considered impossible and that is to create a sympathetic character out of someone attached to the UN, in Marchand. The portrayal of the UN and, especially, the media is also fairly accurate, with the medias obsession with the ‘story’ really shining through. The ending is what the ending for this type of film should be, as sad as it is. The confusion of war was also brilliantly portrayed, as opposed to many war films where the soldiers know exactly where they are what they are to do.

WHAT I THOUGHT WAS GUFF: Throughout, the Bosnian Serbs are portrayed as being lazy and incompetent, where as the Bosnian Muslims are portrayed as thoughtful and international. In the real world, there are both extremes on both sides. Whilst I can appreciate the Monty Python-esque feel to it, the sexy secretary was completely unnecessary.

I give this a commendable seven point seven dinars out of a potential ten dinars.