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Bosnian war film gets Oscar

Tanovic's film had already received plaudits before getting the Oscar
Tanovic's film had already received plaudits before getting the Oscar  

LOS ANGELES -- A gritty film about life in war-torn Bosnia scooped one of the top awards at this year's Oscars ceremony.

"No Man's Land," a tragedy laced with black comedy, was named best foreign language film.

The film, directed and written by Danis Tanovic, tells of three soldiers -- two Bosnian and a Serb -- trapped in a trench during the Bosnian war.

"Wow," said Tanovic, who trained on the front lines of the 1992-95 war as a documentary filmmaker, as he collected his award at the ceremony in Los Angeles. (Full story)

"This is for my country, for Bosnia," he added.

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On the streets of Sarajevo, residents appreciated the sentiment. "I'm so happy, as if I received the Oscar," Dzemal Kovac, 40, told The Associated Press.

"It's time for the world to see that not all Bosnians who go west are refugees, but that there are some good and successful people here."

Tanovic's father, Mevludin, and mother, Hatidza, watched the Oscar ceremony live on Bosnian state television.

"Danis fulfilled all of our expectations," his father said.

"We invested everything we had into his education. That education, along with an empty suitcase, is all Danis took with him when he left Bosnia.

"I think Danis achieved a global idea which everybody could recognise, from Cannes to Berlin to Los Angeles."

A message to Tanovic from the government said: "Your anti-war movie ... represents a message for all of us living here."

It thanked him for "the biggest success in the history of our filmmaking."

Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija said: "The crown came with the Oscar, and Tanovic is an example of talent and determination never having lost a battle."

The film has already won this year's Golden Globe for foreign film and last year it won an eight-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival.

His film beat French film "Amelie," a romantic comedy set in Paris, India's "Lagaan," Norway's "Elling," and "Son of the Bride," an Argentine love story.

"No Man's Land" stars Branko Djuric, who was also at the Oscars ceremony, and was filmed on such a tight budget that Tanovic was forced to use just one tank and one helicopter in the action.

"I call it Bosnian minimalism," Tanovic said. "I was somehow thinking of the Roman comedies where it all happens in the square."

The movie was shot over six weeks in Slovenia because filming in Bosnia was considered too dangerous.

Tanovic said the film had helped keep attention focused on his country as it tries to rebuild following the war.

He said after receiving the Oscar: "We are not getting killed, but the thing is that Bosnia is on its knees.

"It needs a lot. Not only in times of war but in times of peace."

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