Ničija zemlja

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, UK, Italy, Belgium, France


NO MAN'S LAND tells the bizarre tale of enemy soldiers, Čiki and Nino, who find themselves stranded in a long trench which divides the Serbian and Bosnian territories and their respective armies during the 1993 Bosnian Conflict. As Čiki and Nino try to figure out a way out of the neutral No Man's Land zone, a brave UN commander, Sergeant Marchand, goes to help them, despite being ordered not to intervene. Marchand's job is made even more difficult by the international press corps who rush to the battleground, waiting for the story to break.

In a tense stand-off between the many sides involved in the conflict, and with the world's press waiting for an outcome, Nino and Čiki desperately try to negotiate for their lives amidst the insanity of war.

Director's Statement

I remember that strange feeling when war started in Bosnia, when I would see a black bullet hole in a building or a crater made by a shell in a field. Imagine if someone imposed a black and white photograph an a Van Gogh painting, and you will partly understand what one feels when seeing this. This disharmony was a kind of a visual shock. It turned me cold and left me feeling bitter and helpless.

This shock is something I have produced through my film. On one side, a long summer day - perfect nature, strong colours - and an the other, human beings and their black madness. And this long hot summer day reflects the atmosphere of the film itself. Movements are heavy, thoughts are hard to grasp, time is slow and tension is hiding. lt is hiding but present. When it finally explodes, it is like fireworks - sudden, loud and quick. Panoramic shots of landscape become unexpectedly mixed with nervous details of action. lt all lasts for a moment or two and then tension hides away again, waiting for the next opportunity to surprise us. And time slows down again. I wanted this film to be fut of all different kinds of contrasts and disharmonies. But I wanted the outcome to be that disharmony and hate are unnatural, that they bring no solution. I read somewhere that love brings harmony to a conflict without destroying either side. Hate does the contrary. If hate were the ruling principle, there would be no opposition left in the world. But because fire and water exist, love must be the principle that rules the world.

Characters in this story look quite alike. They are simple people, almost anti-heroes, caught in the jaws of war. A man an one side of the front line could easily be found an the other. Only his name would be different.

I am not trying to deny responsibility for the atrocities committed in the Bosnian war. I would never do something like that because there were victims an one side and people who committed crimes an the other. But the point of my film is not to accuse; the story is not about pointing at those who did wrong. The point is to raise a voice against any kind of war. lt is my vote against violence of any kind.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Danis Tanović

Written by: Danis Tanović

Produced by: Marc Baschet, Frédérique Dumas-Zajdela, Cédomir Kolar

Cinematography: Walther Van den Ende

Editing: Francesca Calvelli

Original Score: Danis Tanović

Cast: Branko Đuric (Čiki), Rene Bitorajac (Nino), Filip Sovagovic (Cera), Georges Siatidis (Marchand)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Screenwriter 2001
  • European Actor 2001
  • Feature Film Selection 2001