Danis Tanovic Wins Oscar !
The lead roles were played by Branko Djuric, a native Sarajevan, and Rene Bitorajac, who was born in Zagreb, Croatia.
'No Man's Land' Claims Foreign Oscar
Mon Mar 25,12:09 AM ET
By ANTHONY BREZNICAN, AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Bosnia-Herzegovina's violent war satire "No Man's Land" claimed the Academy Award for best foreign language film Sunday, an artistic triumph for a nation still recovering from its devastating ethnic civil war of the 1990s.
The movie, about enemy soldiers — one Bosnian and one Serb — trapped together in a battlefield trench was the only film produced by that country last year. It upset France's feel-good "Amelie," which was considered the favorite with five Oscar nominations, but won none.
"Wow," said writer-director Danis Tanovic, who trained on the front lines of the 1992-95 war as a documentary filmmaker. "This is for my country. To Bosnia."
Tanovic has said he wanted to highlight the absurdity of the war, the cruelty of ethnic hatred and the ineffectiveness of United Nations (news - web sites) forces during the conflict.
The movie was shot over six weeks in Slovenia because filming in Bosnia was too risky. The lead roles were played by Branko Djuric, who was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Rene Bitorajac, who was born in Zagreb, Croatia.
Yugoslavia began to unravel along ethnic lines during the reign of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (news - web sites).
Bosnia-Herzegovina voted for independence from the former Yugoslavia in March 1992, but Serb and Croat militias fought Muslims to contest the vote; on Nov. 21, 1995, the Dayton accords ended the war. The new state is made up of two statelets — the Croat-Muslim federation and a small Serb republic.
Other foreign film nominees were Argentina's "Son of the Bride," Norway's "Elling" and India's "Lagaan."
Bosnians Exult in Oscar Win
Mon Mar 25, 8:13 AM ET
By AIDA CERKEZ-ROBINSON, Associated Press Writer
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - Like most Sarajevans, retired electrician Zijo Sahovic went to bed long before the Academy Awards (news - web sites) ceremony was over.
"Nothing nice ever happens to us," Sahovic, 64, said fatalistically.
But Monday dawned with big news for Bosnia: Writer-director Danis Tanovic won the Oscar — and the admiration of a nation — for best foreign-language film for "No Man's Land," a satire of the 1992-95 war that devastated the country.
"I knew it! I knew it!" an exultant Sahovic told his neighbors as they headed to work in a heavy spring snowfall.
"No, you didn't. You just hoped, like everybody else," came the reply.
Tanovic was the talk of the town on the streets of Sarajevo, where people seemed eager for some good news in a city still struggling to recover from years of bloody conflict.
"I'm so happy, as if I received the Oscar," said Dzemal Kovac, 40, who sells vegetables at one of the city's open markets. "It's time for the world to see that not all Bosnians who go west are refugees, but that there are some good and successful people here."
Tanovic's violent war satire is about enemy soldiers — one Bosnian and one Serb — trapped together in a battlefield trench. It captures the absurdity of the war, the cruelty of ethnic hatred and the ineffectiveness of United Nations (news - web sites) forces during the conflict.
His father, Mevludin Tanovic, and mother, Hatidza, watched the Oscar ceremony live on Bosnian state television, and reporters massed outside their home in the morning.
"Danis fulfilled all of our expectations," Mevludin Tanovic said. "We invested everything we had into his education. That education, along with an empty suitcase, is all Danis took with him when he left Bosnia. I think Danis achieved a global idea which everybody could recognize, from Cannes to Berlin to Los Angeles."
"Your anti-war movie ... represents a message for all of us living here," Bosnia's three-member presidency said in a statement congratulating Tanovic for "the biggest success in the history of our filmmaking."
Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija sent a letter to the filmmaker, who got his start making documentary films on the front lines of the war, expressing Bosnians' pride that "No Man's Land" has won international acclaim.
"The crown came with the Oscar, and Tanovic is an example of talent and determination never having lost a battle," Lagumdzija said.
Tanovic, who left Bosnia in 1994 and now lives in Paris, made the film on a budget of $1 million, tiny by Hollywood standards. It was shot over six weeks in Slovenia because filming in Bosnia was too risky. The lead roles were played by Branko Djuric, a native Sarajevan, and Rene Bitorajac, who was born in Zagreb, Croatia.