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Witnesses (2003)

Director: Vinko Bresan
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Film Movement
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Independent, Film Movement, Eastern Europe
Running Time: 88 min.
Languages: Croatian
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Croatian filmmaker Vinko Bresan directs the political drama Svjedoci (Witnesses), based on the novel Alabaster Sheep by Jurica Pavicic about real-life war crimes committed during the Serbo-Croatian war. The film meditates on the tragedy belying conflicts that pit neighbor against neighbor - in this case, the Croatians against the Serbs in the early 1990s. The picture opens with three Croatian soldiers opting to intimidate and strong-arm a Serbian man by burning his house to the ground; instead, their plan goes a bit too far and he is brutally murdered, his daughter kidnapped. At this point, Bresan fractures his narrative and jumps back and forth in time, between the reaction of the gunmen to the events, the police investigation of the kidnapping and murder, the events leading up to the attack and the widow's plight. Witnesses was screened in competition at the 2003 Motovun Film Festival. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

War is Hell? So is Family. by talltale December 9, 2006 - 6:32 PM PST
The "other" gets a good working over in WITNESSES, Vinko Bresan's Serbo-Croatian war movie/murder mystery/family drama that, by its finale, has become a moving and highly sophisticated 84 minutes of moviemaking. As you're watching, you'll suddenly think, "Wait: I've heard that line of dialog already." And indeed you will have. Not to worry: The fractured time frame here turns a story (that I believe plays itself out in just a couple of days) into a complex mix of actions, motives and outcomes that will rivet you.

There is an almost classic sense of tragedy at work here--beautifully abetted by story, cinematography, direction, writing and acting--that touches on many of the usual suspects: the pointlessness of a war that turns next door neighbors into enemies, overbearing mothers, sibling rivalry, infidelity and so much more. But Mr. Bresan's ability to weave this together in nearly seamless fashion lifts "Witnesses" into the realm of art. Here is another sterling example of top-notch international filmmaking from the Film Movement group.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.00)
2 Votes
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Ex-Yugoslav Films!
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