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WELCOME TO SARAJEVO

 
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At Theaters: 1/9/1998 On Video: 6/23/1998
Rated: R Length: 1 hr. 40 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 019813
Studio: Miramax Pictures Inc.
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Storyline Heading
News correspondent Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane) has made a career of covering the world's hot spots, but nothing could have prepared him for what he will experience in Sarajevo. The year is 1992, the beginning of the siege on Sarajevo. The cosmopolitan city that once hosted the Winter Olympics and served as a popular European vacation spot has come under attack from groups of Bosnian Serbs fighting to overturn Bosnian independence. In this city where many different cultures once lived together in peace, neighbors are now killing neighbors.

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DETAILED STORYLINE
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Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Drama War - WELCOME TO SARAJEVO is a tough, but rewarding, film.  It is surely one of the best movies of the year, but, because of its content (the war in Bosnia) and graphic depictions of the horrors that occured in Sarajevo during the early '90s, the film is only for those who aren't disturbed by this sort of thing.  This is not for the squeamish.
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Cast and Crew Heading
Stephen Dillane (Hamlet)
Woody Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt)
Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny)
Kerry Fox (An Angel at My Table, The Affair)
Emily Lloyd (In Country)
Director: Michael Winterbottom (Jude)
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Production Notes Heading
About The Production
Location
About The Casting
Background
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Content Heading
PROFANITY: Some strong, but infrequent.
SEX/NUDITY: No sex.  Brief, but full frontal, male nudity.
VIOLENCE: Extreme, frequent, and graphic.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Occasional smoking and drinking.
ACTION: Little.
COMEDY: Some, mostly dark.
DETAILED CONTENT
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Critic's Review Heading
Excellent
WELCOME TO SARAJEVO isn't just the story of an outsider's perspective of the conflict; it's a compelling examination of the role the media played in reporting and shaping the average person's views of the war.  And, while there's nothing revolutionary or extraordinary about the dramatic narrative, the subtext gives Winterbottom's movie its force.  As a tale focused upon the horrors of war, WELCOME TO SARAJEVO doesn't cover any new ground, but as an autopsy of what the conflict meant to a worldwide television audience, this is new and disturbing material.  Oddly enough, the film has as much in common with Gus Van Sant's attack on television news, TO DIE FOR, as it does with Bosnian pictures like VUKOVAR and PRETTY VILLAGE, PRETTY FLAME.

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DETAILED CRITIC'S REVIEW
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OPINION OVERVIEW
The following is the original "What's Worth Watching" write-up for this movie.

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D ETAILED S TORYLINE
Based on true stories, WELCOME TO SARAJEVO invites audiences to enter the world of the international press corps ­ a group of war correspondents, some jaded, some still innocent, covering the news in one of the most dangerous places on earth. The unsinkable spirit of this city under siege will leave none of ­ them untouched, and will lead one journalist to shed his objectivity and get involved.

News correspondent Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane) has made a career of covering the world's hot spots, but nothing in his past has prepared him for what he will experience in Sarajevo. The year is 1992, the beginning of the siege of Sarajevo, the longest siege in modern history. The cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic city that once hosted the Winter Olympics and served as a popular European vacation spot has come under attack from groups of Bosnian Serbs fighting to overturn Bosnian independence. Where cafes and boutiques once stood there is now a danger zone of snipers and mortar attacks. Where people once shopped and ate in restaurants now there is no water and little food. In this city where many different cultures once lived together in peace, neighbors are now killing neighbors.

No one is safe from harm in this city, least of all the journalists covering the front lines. Michael Henderson and his team ­ cameraman Greg (James Nesbitt), producer Jane Carson (Kerry Fox), and new Sarajevan driver Risto (Goran Visnjic) ­ speed daily through the city in armored cars and flak jackets hunting for powerful footage for the day's headlines. It is a quest to get the biggest story, the most remarkable footage. Yet it is also an attempt to keep the world watching the unprecedented and inhumane events unfolding in Sarajevo. For many of the journalists, it is a constant battle to try to get the importance and tragedy of the war in front of audiences who neither understand nor care about events so far from home.

At night, they all gather in the bar of the generator­lit hotel where they live under the same harsh conditions, with the same heart­stopping interruptions of bombs and shells as the rest of Sarajevo. Here, they share stories of what they have witnessed with their comrades in discomfort and engage in a bit of competitive rivalry. Star American journalist Flynn's (Woody Harrelson) daring, flashy style of reportage ­ risking his own life to help a felled civilian shot by a sniper ­ is often the subject of great debate and controversy, raising suspicions about his true motives. Annie McGee (Emily Lloyd), a freelance journalist in Sarajevo covering her first war, comes down especially hard on Flynn, saying his bravery draws attention only to himself and not Sarajevo. Yet no one can deny that Flynn gets headline stories. As he observes: "Back home no one's heard of Sarajevo, but they've all heard of me."

The decision of what footage will make the news is often hard to swallow. After a mortar explodes on civilians waiting in line for bread, Risto, Annie and Michael are shocked to hear from Jane that their coverage has been beaten out for the top story by the separation of Andrew and Fergie, the Duke and Duchess of York.

Meanwhile, life in Sarajevo goes on, little moment by little moment. When Flynn gives three eggs, meant to cure his hangover, to Risto, they become cause for celebration at his friend Ajsha's local pub. In Sarajevo, omelets have become as rare as diamonds. Still, in the wake of the bread line massacre, even the smell of cooking eggs cannot cheer Risto.

One day a typical news­hunt brings Henderson to the Ljubica Ivezic orphanage, run by the devoted Mrs. Savic, situated on the front lines. Here, orphans from before the war have been joined by children who have lost their families in the fighting ­ and all are subjected to daily bombardment from artillery fire.

Despite the dire situation, the political deadlo

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