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PRETTY VILLAGE, PRETTY FLAME

Former Yugoslavia, 1996 (MIFF 1997, International)

Director: Srdjan Dragojevic

The possibility of peace in Bosnia is viewed with irony in Srdjan Dragojevic's Pretty Village, Pretty Flame, which focuses on a group of Serb soldiers before, during and after their military service. The film encompasses a variety of moods through the use of lengthy flashbacks. with satire emerging strongly at the film's con­clusion. From their jovial and bawdy behaviour at the start of the war, the characters strive to maintain a sense of humour during a lengthy stand-off in a tunnel, with Muslim soldiers wait­ing outside, an incident loosely based on actual events.

The continuing problem of accountability in war is highlighted, opponents each deny respon­sibility for atrocities which have affected the other. The local aspect of the conflict has devas­tating consequences for the soldiers; childhood friends, brothers-in-law and friends find them­selves fighting on opposing sides. A sense of the futility of war is conveyed through the often iron­ic use of popular music, including a rendition of John Lennon's Give Peace A Chance.

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