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The Battle of Kosovo
IMDB Rating: 7.5/10 from N/A votes
Release: N/A /

The Battle of Kosovo

Genre: Drama, History, War
Director: Zdravko Sotra,
Stars: , ,
Synopsis: On June 28th 1389, at Kosovo Polje, an army of the Serbian Prince Lazar made a stand against the advancing Ottoman forces of Sultan Murad, resulting in a great battle which would later ...

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Critic Reviews

It is weird to be writing the first review for a movie. But it is a must for this movie to have a review. It is urgent because the topic of this movie is nothing short of the biggest controversy in Balkan politics and Balkan history. The co-called Kosovo myth, a reconstruction of events regarding the battle of Kosovo in the conscience of the Serbian people that to a certain degree differs from the historic version, has been used and abused by Serb and foreign politicians alike.

On one hand, the legendary sacrifice of Kosovo and the unswerving refusal to accept any foreign army on Serbian land has been used by generations of Serbian politicians (not just the most recent ones) to plunge the Serbian people into unwinnable wars out of which the Serbs always emerged with horrific casualties (most blatantly during WWII). On the other hand, in the most recent such war, the anti-Serb political elements in the world have used the Kosovo myth to demonize and discredit the Serbian nation, by equating it with a campaign of conquest and making it the sole explanation of why these conflicts (carefully nurtured during the communist era) happened in the first place.

In this movie, the Kosovo myth is shown in all its glory unclouded by its subsequent abuse. The concept is simple. What is a king to do when a far more powerful army, and that of a completely different faith, comes crashing in? Does one accept the given offer to bow down to the mighty Turkish army or does one fight at all costs? Being that the Christian faith embodies not bowing down to tyranny, defending ones beliefs to death and quite simply doing what is right rather than what is convenient, the Serbian king makes the same choice that Jesus once made.

An earthly kingdom, based on wordly considerations such as power, money, force is always of finite duration (just ask the Romans), but a heavenly kingdom is for all times. In other words, the might=right equation, quite explicit for medieval times and even nowadays still lingering, is turned upside down. Even at the cost of defeat, Serbs reject these wordly values and fight to the death. In other words, they put their money where their mouth is. The Serbian gleeful self-sacrifice is as puzzling to modern day Europe as the initial Christian sacrifice was to Romans. The legacy of Kosovo is evident today and has been experienced by every Serb generation for the last 200 years.

The movie "Boj na Kosovo" overflows with beautiful poetic dialog and words of wisdom. It is imperative to find a version with good translation. The palette of characters is quite varied. We see all the archetypes: the stoic and unswerving king, the cowardly political opportunist and betrayer, the hesitant dukes, the heroic knight who knows what must be done the following night, the young priest yearning for understanding from his elder, the knowledgeable surgeon who through lack of appreciation of his skill has no choice but to defect to the other side, the young wife grieving over her soon-to-be-dead husband in battle, the peasantry who is simply between rulers, the hapless dying sultan who did not expect that day of battle to be his last, the gleeful Turkish soldier/convert of Serbian origin, and last but not least the conniving younger brother murdering the weak older brother to inherit the throne. In each interaction one sees sparks as different viewpoints collide with each other.

The pacing in the movie is very nicely done. The tension before the battle slowly builds, very much in the fashion of High Noon. As characters and their resolves are solidified many conflicts are inevitably bound to happen. The dinner scene before the battle exudes solemnity and violent conflict within each individual as well as the climactic verbal showdown between the accusing traitor and the accused hero. As the hero says, the following day is when it becomes apparent for all time who is who.

The movie does have a few minor weaknesses. The battle scenes do leave something to be desired. And the movie can't help but become a little bit melodramatic towards the very end. But the movie nevertheless stands as one of the great jewels in the legacy of Serbian cinema. For many reasons and on many levels.

Rating 9/10

Scale: 10 MASTERPIECE, 9 Excellent, 8 Good, 7 OK, 6 Adequate, 5 Average, 4 Mediocre, 3 Poor, 2 Bad, 1 HORRIBLE

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