Opening 10 Sep 2009
Writing credits: Hans-Christian Schmid, Bernd Lange
Principal actors: Kerry Fox, Anamaria Marinca, Stephen Dillane, Rolf Lassgård, Alexander Fehling
This challenging political thriller by Hans-Christian Schmid tackles the complexities of the interior workings of the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Prosecutor Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox) pursues the trail of an ex-Bosnian witness who committed suicide. This eventually leads her to the witness’ sister (Anamaria Marinca), whom she then persuades to take the stand. If it weren’t for dirty politics, the trial would go according to the book.
This film showed at the 2009 Berlinale film festival where, in a press conference, director Schmid said it was necessary to make the film in this time frame because the actual trial of Goran Duric would be ending soon. He asked, "Should there be a set time limit to a war crimes tribunal? Who can say how long a witness needs to come out and tell his story?" These war crime tribunals are not only about catching war criminals but allowing victims to tell their stories so they can heal, an aspect Schmid captures perfectly. In preparing her role, Anamaria Marinca said she had to learn German, and Kerry Fox observed human rights lawyers such as Carla DiPonti to find her character. She said that these lawyers are passionate about their work but usually are met with failure since “justice” is a hard thing to achieve. The film was completely done by hand-held camera, making the scenes close up and personal. This film won both the Amnesty International Film Prize and the Berliner Morgenpost Reader’s Prize. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)