Search - Witnesses on DVD

Actors: Leon Lucev, Alma Prica
Director: Vinko Bresan
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
NR     2005     1hr 28min

Split, Croatia, 1992. In a small village near the front-line, three drunken Croatian soldiers plan to take revenge on a Serb by targeting his house. The man turns out to be at home and gets shot. But there is a witness: hi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Leon Lucev, Alma Prica
Director: Vinko Bresan
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Studio: Film Movement
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 28min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Croatian
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Movie Reviews

Highly recommended
N. Monteiro | virginia | 01/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film is beautifully made. With just a small understanding of Communist Romania, a viewer can really enjoy the creativity in telling this story. The main character is a strong heroine, but the characters around her add a lot of entertainment and give ground for reflection. I like that the film focuses on a neighborhood with its share of normal problems, while in the background communist control is falling apart."
Bogdan Tiganov | London, UK | 05/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Way I Spent the End of the World (not a title to roll off the tongue) is a lovely little film with its heart in the right place. It's about the lives of high-school kids just before the overthrow of Communism in 1989 Romania. These kids want to get on with life only they are surrounded by a crazy sense of censorship and they lack a connection to the outside world so they decide to look for a way out. The idea is that they want to swim across the Danube (like many did in real life). Doroteea Petre convincingly plays the role of the central character, a girl who's looking for more.

The recent interest in Romanian cinema has meant that films like The Way I Spent the End of the World are now available to an English-speaking audience. It shows a general quality in Romanian film-making. I would say it's an honest type of film-making, willing to show the day to day lives of real people and their situations. Although not a visionary piece (such as 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days or The Death of Mr Lazarescu) The Way I Spent the End of the World comes recommended if you're in the mood for original, heartfelt cinema.

Bogdan Tiganov - author of The Wooden Tongue Speaks: Romanians: Contradictions and Realities"
Ultimately About Hope
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 10/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Vinko Bresnan's 3rd film, "Witnesses," is an intense subtitled treat. The action proceeds by replaying scenes with increasingly more information from different points of view until the entire story is told. It's shot almost entirely in green and somber tones with the one splash of red coming at the end on the coat of the little girl. Mirjana Karanovic who has at least 13 films to her credit plays the mother who has just lost her husband in the conflict in Croatia. Ethnic hatred flares as her soldier son home on furlough with several buddies goes and kills a wealthy Serb who lives in their village, but there is a witness left behind who must eliminated to protect the crime. Kresimir Mikic plays the trigger man son. In war torn Croatia, the local police chief's wife lays in a coma, needing surgery to remove a piece of shrapnel lodged in her brain. An overwhelmed local hospital has little hope of a successful surgery. The uncle of the soldier offers to put the police chief's wife at the top of the surgical priority list if he will defer investigation of the murder to another time. Meanwhile, the mother's other son Kreso played by Leon Lucev comes home to continue his romantic affair with a newspaper reporter who is investigating the murder. The mother warns her other son to keep Kreso out of it. One of the conspirators gets so guilty over having to eliminate the young daughter of the slain Serb who was witness to the crime that he blows himself up with a hand grenade in a local tavern. This causes the other jumpy son to contact the more stable Kreso to help him. They take several guys out to a field and tie them to a tree. Mikic urinates on the captives and is waved off a nearby shrine which is feared to be booby-trapped. Bored & jumpy, Mikic picks up a rock and says that he bets he could hit the sheep from where he is. He pitches the rock and blows up the shrine that sends a grated fence flying that severs the leg of his older brother Kreso. Kreso hobbles on crutches and rescues the child and flees the border with his newspaper girlfriend that concludes the film on its one hopeful note as the three survivors look at a sunrise and a future together. The film is paced slowly and methodically. The action increases incrementally as we are allowed to see more and more of the puzzle of the story. The violence of the war erupts periodically and then the film quiets as the characters reflect on events. It is an excellent film, one that should have a wider audience in the United States. It is a film that makes you think about war, about violence, about ethnic hatred, and ultimately about hope. Enjoy!"
Chilling snapshot of ethnic war...
private__ | Earth | 02/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Witnesses (Svjedoci) is a chilling snapshot of a small Croatian city during the ethnic conflict/war/atrocities that took place in the nineties. Skilfully using a storytelling technique that includes flashbacks and telling the story from different characters perspectives, we see how individual characters are forced to play the hands dealt to them in order to survive these trying times (there is an investigative reporter, a soldier who has recently returned from the front, his mother who is getting by on nothing, his brothers who each seem to have gone through the same experiences but end up living such different results, the few local serbs who have already vanished...) Visually the movie is beatiful yet melancholy. I love the introductory scene in which we see a large cold plaza that seems devoid of all life until the headlights of the main characters' car star to shine through the macabre emptiness. But despite all these positive points and the fact that the movie is worth seeing, especially if you are interested in Croatia or the Balkans in general, the plot leaves a bit to be desired in the end and isn't too well tied together. I recommend it but with that caveat."