Welcome to Sarajevo

FOR THIS CELEBRATED, OUTRAGEOUS, ADRENALINE-LOVING BUNCH OF REPORTERS, HOME IS THE LATEST WAR ZONE. NOW, ONE OF THEM IS ABOUT TO DO THE UNTHINKABLE – GET EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED.

welcometosarajevoMichael Henderson, a British correspondent (Stephen Dillane) covering the conflict in former Yugoslavia from Sarajevo, promises a little girl to take her away from the horrors. Similar to The Killing Fields (1984), director Michael Winterbottom’s film is an upsetting tale about one of the worst war zones in Europe in modern times, and a statement on how Western leaders failed to protect innocent civilians; they could have avoided some of the atrocities if only they had reacted in time. Well acted and deserving of attention, the movie also includes news footage (showing unspeakable misery) to create a feeling of authenticity.

1997-Britain-U.S. 101 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Graham Broadbent, Damian Jones. Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Screenplay: Frank Cottrell Boyce. Novel: Michael Nicholson (“Natasha’s Story”). Cast: Stephen Dillane (Michael Henderson), Woody Harrelson (Jordan Flynn), Marisa Tomei (Nina), Emira Nusevic, Kerry Fox, Goran Visnjic.

Last word: “When I started working on it, I kind of felt that it wasn’t Natasha’s story – it shouldn’t be just the story of the girl. So we changed it to ‘Sarajevo’, as a sort of working title, really. Because no one was convinced that people would flock to see it with that title. And then, in the film there’s a little documentary bit where you see, scrawled on the wall, ‘welcome to Sarajevo’. So that became the preferred option. Some people did feel that we should just take Sarajevo out of the title altogether, but I felt that the idea of the film was so much to be about the things that were happening in that particular city, so it’s to be about the people from that city and to try and make people think about not only the characters in the film but all of the people that live there.” (Winterbottom, Indiewire)

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