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also known as Gori vatra


  • 3.7
In Bosnia, still experiencing the effects of the breakup of Yugoslavia, everyday activities in the small town of Tesanj are thrown into a tailspin over an impending visit by American president Bill Clinton. Tesanj is a town still in shock from the war with Serbians, a place where a random land mine can go off at any time and violence is casually accepted as an everyday occurrence. Zaim (Bogdan Diklic), the slightly palsied former chief of police, is in denial about the death of his son Adnan (Feda Stukan). He converses with him frequently, much to the chagrin of Zaim's surviving son, Faruck, a fireman (Enis Beslagic), and daughter, Azra (Ana Vilencia). Adnan's body was never found; his spectre tells Zaim he is being held in a mine in Serbia. Mugdim (Izudin Bajrovic), the present chief of police in cahoots with black-market profiteer and pimp Velija (Senad Basic), must clean up the town and he warns Velija that it will be hard to protect him. English-speaking officials move in, inspecting every office and official space for anything, including corruption and weaponry, which could prove embarrassing during President Clinton's visit. They insist that the firemen on opposite sides of the border shake hands and work together. Faruck is hesitantly approached by a fellow fireman, Stanko (Emir Hadzihafizbegovic), a Serb, seeking packages of Pampers for his three-month-old baby. Zaim, unearthing a buried gun, embarks on a journey across the border into Serbia to find Adnan. When a stash of weapons is discovered by the authorities, both Mugdim and the mayor blame it on Zaim. After a long journey, Zaim reaches the mine, occupied by one guard, who over a dinner of mushrooms advises Zaim to "make yourself into a big bomb, grab an American and demand your son back."

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Member Reviews (2)

This film is a bitter satire of postwar Bosnian society, portraying the country's surreal relationship with the international community. When the citizens of this fictional town learn that Bill Clinton is visiting, everyone- from policemen to prostitutes- hurry to prepare for "the foreigners", creating a Potemkin village where ethnic divisions are unheard of (and the black market nonexistent.)

Some background: In 1992 Bosnia declared independence, and Serbian nationalists tried to break away from the new state; conquering much of Bosnia's territory they committed horrifying atrocities against Bosniaks/Muslims and Croats. Many Americans, from socialists like Michael Walzer to conservatives like Joshua Muravchik, wanted to intervene; but the Clinton administration remained neutral, referring to "ancient hatreds". Then in 1995 a peace accord was brokered in Dayton Ohio- and two years later, Clinton gave this speech in Sarajevo claiming credit for peace.

Overall, a fascinating film.

2 members like this review
top reviewer

Equal parts hilarious and humanistic semi-political drama about the aftermath of The Bosnian War.