Welcome to Sarajevo Directed by Micheal Winterbottom (1997)
Nothing that British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom made before Welcome to Sarajevo (including Butterfly Kiss and Jude) suggested the clarifying rage of this 1997 film, which is based on the experiences of British journalist Michael Nicholson while on assignment in Bosnia. Made emotionally numb by the savagery and insanity of Serbian aggression on Sarajevo and surrounding towns and countryside, reporter Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane in a remarkable performance) awakens to the plight of one orphanage and particularly to that of a girl whom he promises to rescue. Henderson's efforts lead to a harrowing bus journey to (temporary) protection for some of the kids (others, quite shockingly, are carried off en route by Serb marauders), and then a second, even more dangerous good deed to finish what he started. The film's dimensions go well beyond that story line, however, as Winterbottom re-creates the gallows-humor culture of international correspondents in a blighted region, as well as the nightmare of the Sarajevo siege. Most savage of all, however, is the director's use of news clips in a pointed attack on the West's refusal to deal with the slaughter and outrages in Bosnia at their peak. The supporting cast might look like a bunch of famous names (Kerry Fox, Marisa Tomei) used decorously to attract attention to the film, but in fact everyone is very good, especially Woody Harrelson as an American journalist whose entrance in the story is one of the most memorable in recent history.
Sep 05, 2009, 03:20:51
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