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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,
Oct 27, 2004 Wide
Jan 1, 2005
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Spanning a year beginning in the summer of 1984, The Witnesses offers the considerable satisfaction of a beautifully acted ensemble piece built on the foundation of a serious subject%u2014the dawn of the AIDS crisis%u2014handled just so.
The occasional voiceover from Béart and a slightly mournful score from Philippe Sarde offer some sense of lament, but mostly this unfolds in the moment and is urgent and engaging.
Witnesses takes us back to the turmoil in the Balkans. But the movie is not directly about the war. It's a cleverly told murder mystery.
More than a thriller, the film is a portrait of the passions that drive ordinary people to kill and even worse, to accept the killing as something honorable.
Bristling with emotional intensity, this is far superior to earlier AIDS-related dramas.
A lively, timely flashback to the early days of AIDS with this character-driven drama.
Techine never lapses into morbid sentimentality and it's interesting for a film to put the horror of AIDs in the 1980s in the perspective of a viewpoint 20-odd years on.
Audience Reviews for Witnesses
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