Looking for the enemy, they found it where they least expected – within themselves. Winter 1991: the recent war in Croatia. Although a truce has just been signed, the members of the ‘Blacks’ – a paramilitary squad rumoured to protect the city by killing fifth column civilians – are preparing to retrieve the dead bodies of their fellow fighters, and to blow up the dam upriver to disable the enemy. They are in a city still under siege, when they hear from their headquarters in Zagreb that, thanks to the ceasefire, their squad will now be disbanded. In the grim space of a school-building converted into a military quarters, we find the Commander Ivo and his soldiers at the moment when the ceasefire, and their sadness at the death of their friends, opens up a slight possibility for each of them to ‘turn over a new leaf’ and move towards redemption, despite the moral boundaries that each of them has crossed. Tormented each one by their fears and remorse, the members of the squad meet their fate one by one. We never see the enemy, but we soon realize that these young men are in fact their own worst enemies. The vast, impassable rain-sodden forest is the setting for the final act of this ensemble drama. The gloomy shades of the rainy landscape, shot on hand-held camera, are the appropriate backdrop for these lost souls
- Ivo Gregurević
- Krešimir Mikić
- Franjo Dijak
- Rakan Rushaidat
- Nikša Butijer
- Emir Hadžihafizbegović
- Stjepan Pete
- Zvonimir Jurić
- Goran Dević
- Branko Linta h.f.s
- Vanja Siruček
- Jura Ferina
- Pavao Miholjević
This is a film about survivors’ guilt among combatants in a war zone. It is not the story of two belligerent parties at war with one another, but the story of a war taking place inside the characters themselves. Some feel guilty for things they have failed to do; others feel guilty for what they have done. In this battle, the enemy is not visible or external to the characters – it lurks inside their own hearts and minds. Interior wars are much more fascinating and subversive than wars waged against an exterior enemy. That is why our film focuses, not on outside events, but on the interior worlds of the characters. We never see the enemy because, for these men, the real enemy is their all-pervasive sense of guilt. THE BLACKS asks the question: is it possible to understand the sufferings, thoughts and emotions of people who are not victims, but murderers? The emotional response we want to provoke in the audience is one of shock and confusion – we want them to ask themselves if murderers can still be tragic figures who deserve our sympathy and empathy.
...it’s a short but effective insight into the tortured minds and frazzled relationships within a squad known as The Blacks on a final, fateful mission.
... this is one of the best films from the Balkans in the past year.
I'm completely engrossed in dramaturgy when I write... I can't work on something I'm completely indifferent to.
Zvonimir Jurić was born 1971 in Osijek, Croatia. He studied film and TV directing at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, graduating in 1999. Since then, he has directed several documentaries and one feature film based on his own script. He has also directed some television series and one part of an omnibus feature. His short film YELLOW MOON premiered in Berlin and went on to win several awards. His latest film THE REAPER wes selected at Toronto IFF.
Goran Dević was born in Sisak, Croatia, in 1971. He studied law, archaeology and film art at Academy of Dramatic Arts, University of Zagreb, Croatia. His filmography includes several documentaries and short films. He is also director and scriptwriter of one feature film. He is the founder of Petnaesta umjetnost - a film production company. Teaches documentary film at the Academy of Dramatic Arts. Lives and works in Zagreb. Currently he prepares and develops three new projects – one feature-length film, one short fiction and a documentary. ON THE WATER is his most recent film presented at DOK Leipzig.