Vukovar se vraca kuci (1994)
The story follows a group of Croatian refugees who have been forced to leave their hometown of Vukovar by Serbian forces during Croatia's struggle for independence. The people are settled at a railway station in a village near Vukovar, where they live in a train which is adapted to serve as a temporary accommodation.The situation grows dim as the date of their return proves to be uncertain, and the lives of the survivors and refugees becomes more and more complicated being burdened by PTSP and strong feelings of hope to return to their homestead.
- The story follows a group of Croatian refugees who have been forced to leave their hometown of Vukovar by Serbian forces during Croatia's struggle for independence. The people are settled at a railway station in a village near Vukovar, where they live in a train which is adapted to serve as a temporary accommodation. There we find a young boy Darko (Srdjan Ivanisevic) who lives with his father (Goran Navojec) who has lost a leg while trying to defend his hometown, and his mother (Sanja Marin) who is appointed new teacher for the refugee children at the station. The boy constantly thinks and dreams of the date of their return to their hometown, as do all of the people there. However, the war takes it's toll as that date seems more and more illusive, and people who have been optimistic at the start of the film, now gradually start to loose hope. Darko's father, who was a railway engineer before the war, and an athlete, basically a decent man, becomes estranged from his wife as a young German official comes to the railway station bringing humanitarian help for the refugees and befriends her in the process. Although his wife does not have an intention of cheating on him, the mere prospect of such a thing, combined with the post traumatic stress disorder, and his best friends leaving for Germany, puts him in a state where he indulges in frequent alcohol binges. But, his son never stops believing in him or their return to their homestead. In a climactic ending, when all hope for return seems lost, his son Darko starts up the engine of the locomotive and symbolically leads all of them towards their hometown, displaying the willpower to endure in spite of all the troubles and dire prospects of their future.
This film is marked and stands out as one of the most realistic displays of the consequences that the Homeland War, or any war, has had on the people in Croatia. The scenery is vivid, the direction flawless and although the people of Vukovar have since returned to their hometown, it is a solid archive document that testifies of the time when Croatia was a young state engulfed in a conflict thrust upon her, with weak or no hope whatsoever that the future for her will be bright. However, being one of the first movies ever shot after the war, it's director Branko Schmidt has done a great job incorporating Vukovar's heritage and customs into this film. The music also stands out, as composer Igor Savin created one of the most poignant and tragic musical leitmotifs, which can only be compared to the strength of John Williams' Hymn for the Fallen from Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.