Thursday, March 20, 2003

Strange Choice of Movies

According to Nic Robertson, Iraqi state television is preparing the people for difficult times by airing "a movie about Tito". I can only guess that the movie in question is Sutjeska. If this is indeed the case, I don't think Iraqi morale is going to be improved much, since the 1973 movie rather accurately portrays the 1943 battle – the worst disaster Tito's Partisan army ever experienced throughout whole WW2. Out of some 20,000 Partisans who got involved in the battle, some 7-8,000 got killed, many of them in most unpleasant ways possible (being eaten by German dogs etc.) and even Tito himself got wounded in German air raid. The mere fact that Partisans survived that hell was the reason why the event later became one of most splendid victories in post-WW2 historic books, but this triumphalistic feeling wasn't shared by former Yugoslav audiences who had preferred other films of that particular genre, mainly Neretva (which was nominated for 1969 Foreign Language "Oscar").

I can only guess what the Iraqi audience would think of Richard Burton playing Tito. Despite being hand-picked by Tito himself to do the job, great Welsh actor didn't take it seriously and spent most of the shooting being drunk. Christopher Plummer could have been much better choice.


I distinctively remember that Neretva was one of rare non-Iranian films being shown in theatres during Iran-Iraq wars. It seems that Middle Eastern countries at war have some thing for former Yugoslav WW2 movies.


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