HTF REVIEW: "No Man's Land" <Oscar Winner Best Foreign Film> (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 25, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Real Name:
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    [​IMG]

    No Man's Land

    Neither side can agree
    I had been planning to review No Man's
    Land for the past few days. It was next
    on my list of screener reviews for the forum.
    How coincidental it became when last night the
    film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film 2001.
    Apparently, No Man's Land has been
    at the top of the critics list even before the
    Oscars. It became Best Screenplay winner
    at the Cannes Film Festival as well as winning
    Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden
    Globe Awards.
    [​IMG]
    The film begins in the midst of a dense fog as
    a small group of Bosnian soldiers make their way
    towards the front lines. It is soon apparent they
    are lost, and when the mists eventually clear, they
    are massacred by the Serbs. One survivor, Chiki
    (Branko Djuric), ends up in a trench in no man's
    land, unable to return to his side. Shortly after,
    two Serbs make their way to the trench searching
    for survivors. Chiki kills one of the Serb soldiers,
    but ends up in a standoff with the other, Nino
    (Rene Bitorajac).
    It is soon discovered that one of Chiki's friends,
    Cera, is still alive. The Serbs thought he was
    dead and placed a bouncer mine underneath him. If
    he moves, the mine will explode from beneath him.
    [​IMG]
    With no other recourse, the Serb and Bosnian
    soldiers must come to terms and combine efforts in
    order to survive their situation within the trench
    even as the situation becomes more unstable as
    United Nations forces arrive with an accompanying
    media caravan.
    [​IMG]
    No Man's Land conveys a clear anti-war
    message, and gets saved by good characters that
    distract us from the lack of action in certain
    scenes.
    How is the transfer?
    MGM has produced a 2-side DVD disc featuring
    16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1) and Standard
    (1.33:1) Transfers.
    Generally, picture quality is very good, with
    only the slightest hint of video noise. Colors
    are well balanced, with flesh tones taking on
    slightly more redness than they should. Otherwise,
    the picture transfer looks quite nice.
    Since this is a foreign film, it is necessary
    to watch with English, French or
    Spanish subtitles. There is no English
    dub, and frankly, I am thankful. Foreign films
    should not be dubbed in English.
    Those of you who frown upon having to watch
    a film with subtitles will not be distracted.
    The film actually has characters speaking in
    Bosnian, English and French.
    Presented in 5.1 Serbo-Croatian surround, the
    film's very realistic sound design is quite
    noteworthy. Explosions and gunfire assault the
    audience from all directions at totally unexpected
    moments. The quieter passages are accented by the
    sounds of nature in the rear channels.
    Special Features
    [​IMG]
    The DVD contains the Original Theatrical
    Trailer, and nothing more.
    Final Thoughts
    I am not surprised by the critical acclaim being
    given to a film that is somewhat simplistic, but
    yet opens the audience's eyes to the ugliness
    of war that takes place in the green and sunny
    valley of No Man's Land.
    This film is certainly worth a rental, and with
    most on-line retailers selling this film at $20
    or less, it is a safe blind purchase that will
    thoroughly entertain you for 90 minutes. It's
    a bittersweet, thought-provoking and highly tragic
    film all rolled into one.
    Release Date: April 9, 2002
     
  2. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Ron, thanks for the review. I've been looking forward to seeing this since I first heard about it.

    Have you ever seen Before the Rain? It's an excellent film that explores the strife in the Republic of Macedonia. Sadly, it is not out on dvd.
     
  3. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

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    Before the Rain is, in my opinion, a better overall film than No Man's Land, much more poignant and subtle in its anti-war message.

    No Man's Land is certainly excellent as well, though the media satire seemed overly familiar. The ending, though I saw it coming a mile away, was very effective.

    Still, of the nominated foriegn films this year, my dollar is going to Amelie.
     
  4. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Here are my thoughts on this film I posted in the Movies section just last week. I agree that it is a good film.
    Thanks for the recommendation on Before The Rain. I will make it a point to see that one.
    ~Edwin
     
  5. Prentice Cotham

    Prentice Cotham Supporting Actor

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    I highly recommened Before the Rain if you like No Man's Land. It's definitely a superior film. I've been trying to get it released to DVD for the past 3 to 4 years to no avail. I can't even find out for sure who has the rights these days. I've communicated with the director and he's not sure himself.
     
  6. Aryn Leroux

    Aryn Leroux Screenwriter

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    I overlooked this review last week. Nice Job Ron!. This is a movie i wish more people would see. I Enjoyed it quite abit. If only the majority of americans were not stubborn when it comes to subtitles.
     

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