No Man's Land
Macedonian National Theatre - Skopje
premiere 2, 3, 21 and 22 June 2017, Main stage
Author of stage adaptation
the Oscar-winning film by Danis Tanovic (2001)
Valentin Svetozarev, Nikola Toromanov
Sashko Kocev, Nikola Acesky, Alexander Mihaylovsky, Gorast Cvetkovsky, Alexander Mykick, Slavisha Kayevsky, Alexander Gorgievsky, Borche Nachev, Oliver Mitkovsky, Kamka Totsynivsky, Nenad Angelkovick, Stefan Spasov, Grigor Yovanovsky, Kristina Gieva, Filip Milenkosky, Alexander Ivanosky, Maria Kondovska, Tome Stankovsky
In “No Man’s Land” I wanted to fuse the wild beautiful colours of nature with the greyness of war. I craved for contrast. When the first bombs fell over Sarajevo I was forced to contemplate the passing spring and summer both marked by fiery black holes. It’s like projecting a black & white photograph on a Van Gogh painting – not even a far resemblance.
~ Danis Tanovic, scriptwriter and director of the film
In his college years Danis Tanovic personally witnessed these painful sights. After graduation he chose for his debut a topic to reveal the on-going problem of war still taking place with all its cruelty and conceited disinterest in human life. His film "No Man's Land" (2001) had a major recognition and is among the most awarded films with 42 national and international awards, among which: Cannes 2001 - award for Best screenplay, Academy award for Best foreign language film, Golden Globe for Best foreign film, and Cesar award for Best debut. Tanovic's story does not take a side of either guilt , or innocence in the Balkan conflict.
A satire against war, a story of life and death.
Our world is governed by global organisations and controlled media in pursuit of sensationalism and ratings. The absurd war between Bosnia and Serbia is impartially presented with black humor and sorrow at the same time. The enemy is you, only his name is different. A metaphor of war that reveals the destructive human nature.
"You are right - what's the point of meeting you now when tomorrow we'll be back to shooting at each other."
Inertia of destruction
Danis Tanovic’s “No Man’s Land” tells the story of the war that happened in the '90s of the XX-th century within the boundaries of former Yugoslavia. The reason is the same as with all wars – aggressive assertion and imposing of own cultural identity (including religious affiliation) combined with territorial, political and economical claims. What is interesting in this case is that the conflicting sides – Bosnians and Serbs – are very proximate in all senses. This leaves us with the impression that the existing differences are neglectable while the conflict is groundless. Yes, it is similar to many conflicts but it is as if happening as an echo without having an actual trigger. The characters are at war without knowing why exactly and how exactly it all started – they try but never find the answer. And yet, they kill… If there is one thing that this text adds up to the problem about war – a widely discussed and explored problem – it’s about the emergence of inertia – the endless inertia of destruction.
~ Stoyan Radev, director, Bulgaria
Will someone demine the body?
“No Man’s Land” is a photograph of the Balkan nations absurd relations and the naïve irrational interactions in times of both peace and war. Fratricide is part of the existence of those nations inhabiting this cursed land area where we are all distant relatives and where we all love and we all hate each other with an equal passion.
The plot – a war of black comedy, is a metaphor of our continuing spiritual and also actual status of “war and hate” with our “brother” nations as well as within our own nation.
Tanovic has chosen an exceptional venue for the action to take place. No man’s land! In other words – neither yours, nor ours, in a manner that makes us all feel part of the Balkan boiling pot. Neither yours, nor ours! There it is - our Balkan spite. Neither yours, nor ours. Neither (to the) east, nor (to the) west. Neither up, nor down. Stuck on the no man's land, long forgotten by the world and the times, a land where all hope is lost - for demining of a bloody mine which we ourselves have put under our own asses.
So, Danis Tanovic presents us with the following situation. Two Serbs find a dead Bosnian and put a mine under his body. Bosnians arrive and capture one of the Serbs. Suddenly, out of the blue, the dead Bosnian respires on top of the mine. Any move would cause a blast. Quite a fukced-up situation. A sapper is needed! An urgent help call is sent to the “smurfs”, as Danis Tanovic wittily calls the UNPROFOR. But they do not deal with such bastards who would put a mine under one another's asses, or at least not until the media arrive. This chance is recognised as an opportunity for a local public self-promotion in the context of democracy and civilizational achievements. The “take photos” and leave because nobody can demine the mine that we have put under our own asses.
Unfortunately, today it is easier than ever for us to recognise ourselves in Tanovic’s metaphor.
~ Zagorka Pop-Antoska Andovska, dramaturg