Die Zeugen
Directed by: 

When Jurica Pavišcíc’s first novel, “Alabaster Sheep“, was published in 1997 it was the source of great controversy in Croatia. Here, for the first time, was a writer who had put into words his own experiences of the war (Pavišcíc himself served as a soldier for nine months in 1992/93) in a highly critical way – without even a hint of false heroics. Pavišcíc’s novel takes place in the coastal town of Split in 1992. A Croatian unit is in the process of committing an act of sabotage in nearby Herzegovina. Private Krešso has been instructed to lead the unit through the minefield he himself laid some time ago. Krešso loses a leg and two of his comrades lose their lives. Baríc, the brother of one of the soldiers killed by during this action, lays the blame at Krešso’s door. After several long periods spent convalescing at various clinics, Krešso finally returns to Split where he finds work but is shunned by his old mates. Meanwhile, a group of Krešso’s ex-comrades led by Baríc decide to commit an act of revenge by attacking the supposedly empty house of a Serb businessman. However, contrary to expectation, the businessman is at home when they attack and is shot dead by the gunmen. The assassins abduct the businessman’s eleven-year-old daughter and hold her prisoner in a garage. By chance, Krešso hears about the attack and manages to convince one of the kidnappers to let the girl go. The girl is handed over to Krešso so that he can send her out of the country to her relatives abroad. But before Krešso’s plan succeeds, Baríc sets out hard on the heels of the two refugees . . .  (Festival information)