Synopsis by Andrea LeVasseur
Croatian filmmaker Vinko Bresan directs the political drama Svjedoci (Witnesses), based on the novel Alabaster Sheep by Jurica Pavicic about real-life war crimes committed during the Serbo-Croatian war. The film meditates on the tragedy belying conflicts that pit neighbor against neighbor - in this case, the Croatians against the Serbs in the early 1990s. The picture opens with three Croatian soldiers opting to intimidate and strong-arm a Serbian man by burning his house to the ground; instead, their plan goes a bit too far and he is brutally murdered, his daughter kidnapped. At this point, Bresan fractures his narrative and jumps back and forth in time, between the reaction of the gunmen to the events, the police investigation of the kidnapping and murder, the events leading up to the attack and the widow's plight. Witnesses was screened in competition at the 2003 Motovun Film Festival.
Croatia, Serbia, investigation, murder, perspectives, war-crimes, mother, son, wound [injury]