Vukovar

on February 02, 1996 by Ed Scheid
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In Vukovar, a town in the former Yugoslavia, different ethnic groups had long lived peacefully. Anna ("Under-ground's" Mirjana Jokovic), a Croatian, married childhood friend Toma (Boris Isakovic), a Serb. But their jubilant wedding party is blocked by Croatian and Serbian demonstrations and the bride is wrapped in a flag, foreshadowing how the couple will be split by long-dormant social tensions. After Toma is drafted, a pregnant Anna desperately tries to stay alive as Vukovar is bombarded. In his army outside the city, Toma is shocked to see Anna in his gunsight.

A winner of numerous festival awards, "Vukovar" was filmed in the ruins of the real-life Vukovar (claiming it was biased, Croatia's mission at the United Nations recently forced cancellation of a New York screening), and it contains striking images of devastation. Bodies float in the river; a cellar door opens to blinding apocalypse outside; an aerial shot displays the widespread canvas of disaster. But what really makes the film so effective and affecting, aided by fine voiceovers by the two main characters, is its focus on human loss.    Starring Mirjana Jokovic and Boris Isakovic. Directed by Boro Draskovic. Written by Maja Draskovic and Boro Draskovic. Produced by Danka Muzdeka Mandzuka. A Tara release. Drama. Serbo/Croatian-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 96 min.    Screened at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers fest.

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