Skip to comments.Feature-Film portrays fugitive Mladic as neurotic gardener
Posted on 04/18/2006 11:35:18 PM PDT by LjubivojeRadosavljevic
SARAJEVO, April 19 (Reuters) - The most wanted man in the Balkans is being portrayed on the big screen this month as a vindictive army captain obsessed with gardening in a tragicomic film set during the dying days of Yugoslavia.
Fugitive Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, indicted for war crimes by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, has been caricatured as Captain Rade Orchid in the film "Karaula" ("Border Post") by Croat director Rajko Grlic.
The film has attracted attention across the Balkans as the first co-production by republics of the former socialist federation since its collapse in the 1990s.
Newsreels have shown Mladic as the bombastic commander of the Bosnian Serbs in the 1992-95 Bosnia war, smiling as he gave sweets to the children of Srebrenica hours before 8,000 of their fathers and brothers were massacred.
Movie-goers in Skopje, Belgrade, Sarajevo and Zagreb who went to see "Karaula" this month saw Mladic portrayed as a neurotic army captain obsessed with gardening, who forces soldiers to tend to his orchids and weed his lawn.
Audiences were unaware that Captain Orchid was based on Mladic until former conscript Jurica Pavicic wrote an article about having to do weeding for the obsessive gardener.
Pavicic, a Croatian journalist who did his military service under Mladic in the Macedonian lakeside town of Ohrid in the mid-1980s, told his story to writer Ante Tomic, who used it in the screenplay of "Karaula".
"The motif of obsession with flowers and gardening is really based on Mladic," Pavicic told Reuters. "But of course the character is shaped by the screenplay and acting."
The film's chief producer Ademir Kenovic confirmed the bizarre captain was based on Mladic, but said the film was about more than just one man.
The movie centres on a Yugoslav army unit guarding a border post in 1987 on the Albanian-Macedonian frontier, spending their days idly until their commander, another officer prone to absurd behaviour, discovers he has caught syphilis from a prostitute.
To buy time until he is cured and can go home to his wife, he invents an imaginary threat from Albania and orders his unit to prepare for an attack.
Some of those who attended the film's premiere in Sarajevo were surprised to learn the burlesque Captain Orchid was based on a man seen in Bosnia as a monster.
"It is weird. Rade Orchid is almost a funny character," said Elda Hodzic, an unemployed agronomist.
The United Nations war crimes tribunal has indicted Mladic for the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre and the 43-month siege of Sarajevo which caused more than 10,000 civilian deaths.
The court says he is protected by hardliners in Serbia. His handover is crucial to Belgrade's efforts to join the European mainstream after the wars of the 1990s, in which it was widely seen as the aggressor, and to become a member of the European Union.
Serb authorities say they do not know where Mladic is. However, the Hague tribunal says Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has promised to hand him over by the end of April and Kostunica says he is "very, very close" to keeping the pledge.
Pavicic remembers Mladic as a demagogue who revelled in media attention, showed traits of sadism, fawned on superiors and terrorised subordinates.
"He was extremely ambitious, only at that time nobody was thinking of war," Pavicic said. "He was already displaying intolerance, like not allowing the Macedonians to speak their own language in the barracks."
Pavicic said he was not surprised by the role Mladic came to play in the Yugoslav wars -- "he had no scruples."
BROTHERHOOD AND UNITY
"Karaula" features famous actors from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia. It starts as a comedy and finishes as a tragedy, the end of a fairy tale of "brotherhood and unity" like the break-up of Yugoslavia itself.
Kenovic, a Bosnian, said the success of the movie across the region proved people wanted to face the past.
"The fact that over 100,000 people have seen the film in less than two weeks shows it's laying a foundation for future communication, something we desperately need," he said.
In the successor states of Yugoslavia, nostalgia for the old country is tinged with resentment over real or imagined slights borne by each nation in the days of the socialist federation and also with anger at the atrocities and aftermath of the wars.
When the film was shown in Sarajevo, the audience sighed when they heard old hits by popular rock bands of the 1980s.
Serbian actor Bogdan Diklic, who plays Captain Orchid, refused to talk about his role, alluding to tensions still provoked by wartime issues.
"I have made a principled decision to freeze my contacts with the media," Diklic told Reuters.
The veteran actor also appeared in the Bosnian film "Grbavica" which won top honours at the Berlin Film Festival. Serb actress Mirjana Karanovic, who played the lead role of a Muslim rape victim, was called a "Serb traitor" by some media.
Kenovic said that, although the bizarre captain was based on Mladic, the film was more than the story of a man who was a "criminals' tool, a technician".
"I hope Mladic will be in The Hague soon. I'll be happy," the producer said. "I'm more concerned about the mind-set that supported and still supports Mladic than about the man himself."
Probably as much validity to this as saying that 100,000 or more Albanians (muslims) were massacred in genocide in Kosovo.
Ahhh....The FR genocide caucus. The folks who'd deny the Holocaust if they wouldn't get banned for it.
["Probably as much validity to this as saying that 100,000 or more Albanians (muslims) were massacred in genocide in Kosovo."]
I never could find those bodies. Perhaps, maybe, William Jefferson Clinton could help me find them?
I think he is on a worldwide tour trying to round up some bodies.
["I think he is on a worldwide tour trying to round up some bodies."]
Maybe if he (Clinton) wants to lead the UN he should start in the Darfur region in Sudan. I think he might find a number of "fresh" dead bodies there. However, I suspect that he won't. (Gosh, I wonder why he wouldn't do that?)
The MSM claimed 100K deaths in Yugoslavia - but then it claimed 4 Million deaths from Chernobyl. The true figure for Chernobyl is about 280.
So you'll pardon the "Genocide lobby" for not automatically believing everything the MSM says.
I don't think a lot of Freepers, including myself, are on top of the figures. If you have links to confirmed mass-grave counts then please publish them. Seriously, it will be a public service to FR and will help a lot of us out. But please don't assume those who don't buy into hysterical MSM figures are somehow genocide-deniers. :0)
Well, we did find all of those mass graves that Clinton told us about in Kosovo and Bosnia.
But we found them in Iraq and they were all full of Arabs, go figure!
Why would Serbs deny the Holocaust when they were massacred by the same people as were the Jews? That's beneath stupid, actually.
Wonder how much money Serbs had to put up in this film promoted as a way of unifying former Yugoslavs. What a joke and a waste of money. Serbs should have known better than to mess with the same people again then getting the same results - something perverted and anti-Serb. Everyone fought to be "independent" and because they hated the rest. So why don't they go their own ways and create their own "independent" cultures?
How long have you been beating your wife?
How long have you been belittling the Holocaust or did you just start with this posting?
"How long have you been beating your wife?"
How can this revisionist not have more knowledge about Albanian culture?
Truth is, less than 100k in Bosnia and even the Srebrenica numbers are over stated. The 8k figure is bogus.
As far as Kosovo is concerned, ask the KLA how many Serbs and Albanians they killed, that's right, they killed more of their own people than any Serb did. Pretty pathetic considering Billy Jeff's media machine tried to spin it otherwise.