Saturday, July 26, 2003

Disappointing Campaign in the Balkans

Occasionally I watch WW2 documentaries on Discovery Channel. Although many of them tell stories I know by heart, every once in a while there comes a documentary which brings new and interesting spin on familiar subject. However, Campaign in the Balkans, documentary of Battlefield series, wasn't one of them.

Unlike other Battlefield segments that had covered various WW2 campaigns with great deal of detail (short biographies of leaders, segments on equipment, armies, political and military background of battles etc.) this one was chaotic and disorganised mentioning of all facts that for some reasons couldn't have entered other, much better Battlefield documentaries (German conquest of France, Barbarossa, Stalingrad, El Alamein, African Campaign, Italian Campaign, Normandy, Kursk, Berlin, Singapore, Midway). For some strange reasons, Allied air offensive against German industry and Warsaw uprising were covered with much more detail than events in Yugoslavia and Greece.

When Campaign in the Balkans did touch Balkans, results were… interesting, to say the least. In its brief mention of German 1943 attempts to stamp out Tito's Partisans they got the course of operations completely wrong. Furthermore, lacking documentary footage of Yugoslav Partisans, producers used little-known 1946 Soviet feature film In the Mountains of Yugoslavia. The movie, in which Tito is played by a Russian actor who doesn't look a little bit like Yugoslav leader, was banned for Yugoslav audiences immediately after Tito-Stalin split. If by any chance this documentary suffers the same fate in the future former Yugoslav audiences would hardly be at loss.


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