lthough the Balkans become easier to visit as time passes, there is still precious little about the region that makes it to the public. For those of you wanting to know more, or who simply enjoy a good read or well made film, I've compiled the following list of books and films some of which I've read and seen and others I havent. I've provided a short description and picture from Amazon.com.

Films:
No Man's Land (2001)


Danis Tanovic's Academy AwardŽ-winning satire of the war in the Balkans is an astounding balancing act, an acidic black comedy grounded in the brutality and horror of war. Stuck in an abandoned trench between enemy lines, a Serb and a Bosnian play the blame game in a comic tit-for-tat struggle while a wounded Bosnian soldier lies helplessly on a land mine. A French tank unit of the U.N.'s humanitarian force (known locally as "the Smurfs"), a scheming British TV reporter, a German mine defuser, and the U.N. high command (led by a bombastically ineffectual Simon Callow) all become tangled in the chaotic rescue as the tenuous cease-fire is only a spark away from detonation. Tanovic directs with a ferocious, angry eloquence and makes his points with vivid metaphors and a savage humor as harrowing as it is hilarious. Searing and smart, this satire carries an emotional recoil.

Savior (1998)

Quaid is Joshua Rose, an American in Paris traumatized by the death of his wife and child in an Islamic terrorist bombing, wreaking immediate and fateful vengeance on innocent Muslim worshippers, then escaping into a new life as a mercenary supporting Bosian Serbs. Under the nom du guerre Guy, Rose is a remorseless, nearly comatose presence until he intervenes in a brutal attack on a Serbian woman (Natasa Ninkovic) pregnant from a Muslim rape. Guy's gradual immersion in his charge's destiny brings him face to face with the centuries-old political, religious, and cultural feuds that haunt the region, and Quaid's own salvation comes through a remarkably subdued, sober performance. That restraint, and Quaid's haggard, close-cropped features are all but unrecognizable to those more familiar with his cocky, grinning turns as a more conventional hero.Antonijevic makes the journey absorbing and, ultimately, elegiac, punctuated by a few brief but convincingly gruesome action sequences including a civilian massacre that would have been the climax of a more conventional war film. Instead, it's Quaid's own epiphanies that distinguish this probing, heartbreaking drama.

Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (1996)


This provocative and disturbing movie is based on an incident that happened in the first winter of the war in Bosnia in 1992. Two childhood friends, one a Serb the other a Muslim, square off on opposite sides of war, their friendship tattered and in ruins. The film starts in the Belgrade army hospital where casualties of Bosnian civil war are treated. In the hospital they remember their youth and the war. The main focus is on two young boys, Halil (Nikola Pejakovic), a Muslim, and Milan (Dragan Bjelogric), a Serb, which have grown up together near a deserted tunnel linking the Yugoslav cities of Belgrade and Zagreb. They never dare go inside, as they believe an ogre resides there. Twelve years later, during the Bosnian civil war, Milan, who is trapped in the tunnel with his troop, and Halil, find themselves on opposing sides, fatefully heading toward confrontation.

Welcome to Sarajevo (1997)



Journalist Floyd from US, Michael Henderson from UK and their teams meet the beginning of Bosnian war in Sarajevo. During their reports they find an orphanage run by devoted Mrs. Savic near the front line. Henderson gets so involved in kids' problems that he decides to take on the children, Emira, illegally back to England. He is assisted by American aid worker Nina.

Shot Through the Heart (1998)



The horrors of war are examined from the view points of lifelong friends (Linus Roache, Vincent Perez), who end up on opposing sides in the civil war in Sarajevo. One is an expert marksman, who trains the snipers used to terrify the city and the other becomes a freedom fighter, who rejects his friend's offer to gain an escape from the city. As might be expected, the two eventually have to face-off against one another.


Books:
Balkan Ghosts

Kaplan, an American journalist who lived in Greece for seven years, is a gifted writer with a marvelous feel for the exotic, woolly, mountainous Balkan peninsula. This vividly impressionistic travelogue splices a long trip in 1990 with sojourns in the '80s and forays into history, resulting in an unpredictable adventure that illuminates the Balkan nations' ethnic clashes and near-anarchic politics. Kaplan dwells on Greece's modern political culture, which, he shows, has much closer ties to the multiethnic Balkans than is generally acknowledged. He views Romania's history as a long, desperate compromise with a succession of invaders, marred by decades of Turkish rule, Nazism and Communism. He talks with Gypsies, scales steep Baroque cities, tours Transylvania, Bulgaria and Albania and visits the remnant Jewish community of Salonika, which was decimated by the Nazis. Kaplan ( Soldiers of God: With the Mujahidin in Afghanistan ) sheds light on the Serb-Croat dispute, which he traces in part back to Croatia's fascists of WW II and to the Vatican's perceived stirring up of anti-Semitic feelings among Croats. He finds seeds of civil war germinating in Yugoslavia, where he confronts "the principal illness of the Balkans: conflicting dreams of lost imperial glory." Photos. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia

Part travelogue, part history, part love letter on a thousand-page scale, Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is a genre-bending masterwork written in elegant prose. But what makes it so unlikely to be confused with any other book of history, politics, or culture--with, in fact, any other book--is its unashamed depth of feeling: think The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire crossed with Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. West visited Yugoslavia for the first time in 1936. What she saw there affected her so much that she had to return--partly, she writes, because it most resembled "the country I have always seen between sleeping and waking," and partly because "it was like picking up a strand of wool that would lead me out of a labyrinth in which, to my surprise, I had found myself immured." Black Lamb is the chronicle of her travels, but above all it is West following that strand of wool: through countless historical digressions; through winding narratives of battles, slavery, and assassinations; through Shakespeare and Augustine and into the very heart of human frailty.
The Bridge on the Drina

The Bridge on the Drina is a vivid depiction of the suffering history has imposed upon the people of Bosnia from the late 16th century to the beginning of World War I. As we seek to make sense of the current nightmare in this region, this remarkable, timely book serves as a reliable guide to its people and history. No better introduction to the study of Balkan and Ottoman history exists, nor do I know of any work of fiction that more persuasively introduces the reader to a civilization other than our own. It is an intellectual and emotional adventure to encounter the Ottoman world through Andric's pages in its grandiose beginning and at its tottering finale. It is, in short, a marvelous work, a masterpiece, and very much sui generis. . . . Andric's sensitive portrait of social change in distant Bosnia has revelatory force.