No Man’s Land

Event Date: Wednesday February 26, 2003
Time: 7:00 P.M.
Location: Harvard Film Archive Carpenter Center 24 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA

Film and Discussion with
Danis Tanovic
Bosnian Director

and Harvard Law School Professor
Robert Mnookin

Set in the midst of the recent Balkan wars, No Man’s Land is a powerful account of the relationship that develops between two enemy soldiers—a Serb and a Bosnian—who are trapped together in the same trench. When the United Nations begrudgingly decides to come to their rescue, the soldiers’ predicament is blown up into an international news spectacle, and the dark humor of the film becomes evident. The award-winning drama explores humanity in the midst of the horrors of the Bosnia-Herzegovina war.

One of the most widely acclaimed films of 2001, No Man’s Land was awarded Best Screenplay and the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, as well as the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The screening will be at the Harvard Film Archive at 7 PM on Wednesday, February 26. Professor Robert Mnookin will join Tanovic in a discussion about the film and international conflict resolution following the film.

Bosnian writer and director Danis Tanovic became a celebrity in the international film community practically overnight with the release of No Man’s Land. Born in 1969 in the former Yugoslavia, Tanovic developed an interest in filmmaking after spending several years studying music and engineering, and was attending the Sarajevo Film Academy in 1992 when the war broke out. Over the next two years, Tanovic shot literally hundreds of hours of documentary footage of the war and its effect on the nation before leaving Sarajevo to study filmmaking in Belgium. While studying in Belgium, Tanovic produced a documentary about the Bosnian conflict, A Year After, and several short films; he also wrote a play, A Madman and a Nun. In time, Tanovic set aside documentaries and shorter projects to concentrate on his screenplay for No Man’s Land, which Tanovic brought before the cameras with financing from Belgian, Italian, British, and Slovenian film companies (the film was shot in Slovenia). In addition to the awards at Cannes and the Academy Awards, No Man’s Land landed Tanovic the Best New Director trophy at the 2001 Cesar Awards, and critical acclaim at the Los Angeles International Film Festival, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and the Sao Paulo International Film Festival.

“I wanted this film to be full of all different kinds of contrasts and disharmonies, but I wanted the outcome to be that disharmony and hate are unnatural, that they bring no solution. I read somewhere that love brings harmony to a conflict without destroying either side. Hate does the contrary. If hate were the ruling principle, there would be no opposition left in the world. But because fire and water exist, love must be the principle that rules the world…
“I am not trying to deny responsibility for the atrocities committed in the Bosnian war. I would never do something like that, because there were victims on one side and people who committed crimes on the other. But the point of my film is not to accuse. The story is not about pointing at those who did wrong. The point is to raise a voice against any kind of war. It is my vote against violence of any kind.”
— Director Danis Tanovic

The Program on Negotiation Film Series seeks to explore negotiation and conflict resolution through the medium of film. Other films in the 2002-2003 Film Series include:

For information on the PON Film Series, contact Jeremy Bird at or at 617-495-1684 x538.

Free and open to the public.

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