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Film Review: No Man's Land

A film set in the Bosnian-Serbian war delivers a healthy dose of humour

'No Man's Land', a movie set during the Bosnian-Serbian conflict is not your typical action filled war movie. Directed by Danis Tanovic, a Bosnian with behind the camera frontline experience, the film has an obvious pro-Bosnian slant but this does not detract from the overall humanitarian feel to the movie.

No Man's LandTaking place over a 24 hour period the movie is concerned with 3 soldiers in particular, 2 Bosnian and 1 Serbian who find themselves trapped in a trench in between enemy lines. The men risk being shot at by either side as they remain an unidentifiable risk. The movie follows each soldiers struggle to keep some semblance of control in difficult circumstances until intervention is made by the outside world.

The humour in the movie lies in the absurdity of the whole situation - in another trench a soldier contemplates the destructiveness of war in Rwanda, a UN official in a distant office continues his chess game unwilling to intervene in the inconvenient problem of a few stranded soldiers... meanwhile back in no man's land one of the soldiers deals with the urge to defecate whilst lying on a ready to explode bomb.

The setting has a decidedly stage-like quality to it and dramatic tensions are heightened as the seemingly innate hatred between the two enemies manifests. The role of the UN is called into question, as is that of the media who are stereotyped as a bloodthirsty group intent on getting a story at all costs, the irony lying in their final portrayal of the truth.

'No Mans Land' is an engrossing movie that's about war and the unnecessary suffering it inflicts and much more: the struggle to hold onto one's beliefs, the interdependence of man on man, hope etc. It demands viewing sometime soon...


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