Kosovo 1999. Two young German soldiers, Tom and Charly are on an almost hopeless mission KFOR mission, supposed to keep peace. When Charly is injured while attempting to rescue beautiful young Serb Mirjana from a snipers attack., Tom rushes after the killer and finds himself facing a half-grown Albanian child, Duncan wielding a sharpshooteres rifle. Soon Duncan motive becomes clear: Mirjana's father, Dr Jovovic was partly responsible for a Serbian massacre and has Durcan's famiy on his conscience. But above all, Albanian commander Enver wants his revenge on the Jovovic family. With Mirjana's help, Tom wins the trust of traumatized Durcan. When Durcan escapes and once again involved with Enver, Mirjana is confronted with a shocking truth: Enver has decided to have her killed - and has ordered Durcan to carry out the sentence.
from Germany usually take World War II as their backdrop-
and rightly so too, since undoubtedly the Germans have the
benefit of a more intimate perspective. It is therefore quite
refreshing to find that this little-known German production
“Snipers Valley” actually sets its events against
the Kosovo War in 1998.
begins towards the end of the War where the cycle of violence
has reversed. Instead of the Serbs being the aggressors, and
the Albanians the victims, it is the Albanians who now are
the hunters, and the Serbs the hunted. This is the situation
two young German soldiers, Tom (Adrian Topol) and Charly (Max
Riemelt), of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) find themselves
in as they attempt to keep the fragile peace.
morning while escorting a group of Serbs to their safehouses,
they come under fire from a sniper on a rooftop. Strangely
enough, the sniper appears to be targeting a beautiful young
Serbian lady, Mirjana (Susanne Bormann), whom Tom and Charly
promptly jump to the rescue of. And just as peculiar is the
fact that the sniper is a young 12-year old boy Durcan that
Tom gives chase and eventually takes into custody.
the mystery of the film is finding out why an innocent-looking
wide-eyed boy just barely into his teens will harbour so much
resentment against the gorgeous Mirjana. Through Tom’s
investigations, writer/director Rudolf Schweiger unravels
the truth behind the shooting and concomitantly the motivation
behind Durcan’s intense hatred.
uses as a lens to examine the fatal consequences of a vicious
cycle of violence, as the Albanians use and abuse their newfound
liberation to exert revenge on the Serbs who so cruelly oppressed
them before. And presciently this message finds relevance
in today’s sharply polarized world, divided by the antagonistic
words and deeds of the previous Bush administration.
as it may sound, Schweiger’s moral is how an eye for
an eye does indeed make the world go blind- since violence
has an uncanny ability to boomerang at its handler. Though
his intentions are noble, Schweiger’s execution leaves
much to be desired.
his no-frills storytelling still works in the first half as
the mystery unfurls, it unfortunately works against his already
over-simplistic resolution in the latter half when he attempts
to show how Serb and Albanian eventually reconcile. Surely
the answers to decades of conflict are not so easily cast
aside in the manner in which Schweiger portrays in the movie.
Hence what impact his story may have had at the start is sadly
diminished by the naïve turn of events towards the end.
also leaves much to be desired- the German actors here unable
to give their respective characters much depth. This is especially
true for Adrian Topol, who plays the peacekeeper whose heart
of gold compels him to disobey the non-interventionist policy
his mission entails in order to protect Mirjana and Durcan.
Certainly a more capable actor would have been more suited
to convey the dilemma his character faces.
few movies to date have attempted to tell the modern-day Holocaust
between the Serbs and the Albanians in Kosovo. And in the
end, this middling effort turns out more admirable for its
ambition than impressive in its execution.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
visuals are surprisingly sharp for this direct-to-DVD release
foreign movie. The Dolby 2.0 audio track suffices for a mostly
by Gabriel Chong