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2 Votes (3.5)
 
How the War Started on My Island (1996)
Kako je poceo rat na mom otoku (original title)
Fiction, 97 min
 
Production country   Croatia
Languages   Croatian,Serbian,Slovene
Director   Vinko Bresan
Scriptwriters   Vinko Bresan, Ivo Bresan
Producer   Ante Skorput
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Plot keywords    
Comedy, war
 
   
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Plot
The film is set in Croatia in mid 1991, after the Croatian Parliament had proclaimed the country's independence, seceding it from Yugoslavia. However, army garrisons around the country are still held by the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), which does not acknowledge the parliament's decision. The JNA garrisons are largely manned by conscripts hailing from all over Yugoslavia who are serving their compulsory military service, and headed by senior officers who ignore Croatian demands that the JNA should leave Croatian territory and release Croats under their command. In this backdrop, the film begins with the arrival of art historian Blaž Gajski (played by Vlatko Dulić) to a small unnamed Croatian island with the intention of rescuing his son Zoran (Leon Lučev) who is serving at the local JNA barracks.
Gajski finds the situation on the island tense - the police have surrounded the barracks, locals are picketing the garrison, and the local commanders go in to negotiate a peaceful surrender of the compound with barracks commander major Aleksa (Ljubomir Kerekeš). However, Aleksa brushes them off, has the barracks rigged with explosives and threatens to blow everything up in case of any attempts to take the garrison by force. In response, islanders stage a non-stop festival in front of the compound, with rock bands and marching bands playing music, and with islanders reciting poems and giving speeches (including Aleksa's own wife) in the hope of convincing Aleksa to back down.
Meanwhile, the locals' commander has the garrison's power and phone lines cut. The locals then intercept an army radio transmission and, posing as army command, tell Aleksa not to do anything until a "colonel Kostadinović" arrives to give him detailed instructions, in order to buy more time to wear him down. After failing to get in the garrison or contact the commander, Gajski tries to get help from the locals in getting his son released, but everyone on the island seems completely engrossed by their own role in the events. In the resulting stalemate, he manages to get in the barracks posing as a JNA officer, retrieves his son and defuses the situation.
 
Technical Specifications Image / Sound
Color / Black & White   Color
Production format   16mm
Distribution format   35mm
 
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