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Old 04-02-2017, 04:39 PM
ashdoc ashdoc is offline
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Default Ashdoc's movie review---Battle of Kosovo ( Yugoslav film )

This is a film made in 1989 when the state of Yugoslavia was still in existence , and it was made on the 600th anniversary of the battle of Kosovo . To those who know what happened later in Kosovo , the movie can give some insight into why Serbians hold the ground of that region so sacred---for it was literally strewn with the bodies of martyrs who laid down their lives for protecting Serbia .

1389---The high noon of Turkish expansion in Europe is yet to come , but already the tremors of their armies are being felt all over the western world . One block to their expansion is the medieval state of Serbia , and sultan Murad sets out to destroy the state with all the power of his terrible armies on the battlefield of Kosovo .

The movie begins with a lost man asking an old man as to where do two particular roads lead to--and the old man answers that today all roads lead to Kosovo , for that is where the fate of Serbia is going to be decided . And some people within Serbia itself have already decided that fate , for defeatism has crept in Serbian ranks and crooked people are even minting dinars ( Turkish currency ) anticipating the impending Turkish rule over Serbia . Earlier under emperor Dusan Serbia was a great power , but now it has been divided into fiefdoms where magnates rival each other for power . And these magnates are divided and cannot present a united front for defending it against the Turkish hordes .

One man however decides to fight out with whatever forces are available with him , and that man is prince Lazar---the chief magnate among all the magnates of Serbia . Some other magnates disagree with him and ask him to accept the suzerainty of the Turks , but his wife supports him in his resistance . For as some common people say , even if their suzerainty is accepted the Turks will force their Islamic religion on the Serbs and their forces will trample the land and they will kidnap young girls and even boys to fulfil their sexual lust . Serbs will have to kiss the boots of the Turkish conquerors and Serbs will have to become the slaves of the Turkish overlords . Prince Lazar wants to fight for Serbian honour even though he may lose his life in the coming battle , for only those who fight will be remembered by the common people for centuries as martyrs .

And the common people heed his call , for an army of more than 70,000 men collects to fight for their nation . But they are divided , for the leaders of various contingents that compose the army are divided . And anyway their army is outnumbered by the Turks , who have an endless horde of more than 160,000 men---all waiting like predators to pounce upon their prey ; there will be no mercy for the Christians as Serbia will be looted devastated and it's people massacred after the battle . As a girl lamenting for her fiance even before the battle begins says after the battle , there wont be any men left to marry and to father children after the battle . Catastrophe is beckoning....

At the last dinner before the battle begins next morning , one of the nobles ( Luc Brancovic ) who himself is going to abandon the army to it's fate and turn traitor accuses Serbia's finest warrior ( Obilic ) of having colluded with the enemy because Obilic has protected a turkish spy whose intentions he failed to recognise . Obilic is so incensed by the accusation that he vows to kill the sultan Murad himself on the field of battle .

As the battle begins next morning Obilic surrenders to the Turks by throwing away his weapon . As he is recognised for being Serbia's best warrior , the sultan asks him to come near to pay obeisance to him and the Turkish nobles ask him to kiss the sultan's feet . What they don't know is that Obilic has hidden a dagger within his clothing . As he comes close to the sultan , Obilic murders Murad by plunging his dagger into his abdomen . He is put to death by the sultan's angry soldiers . But Obilic has proven his loyalty to Serbia....

Immediately a rivalry opens between the sultan's two sons , and the elder son Bayazid has his younger brother treacherously strangled by a cord of silk . Bayazid is then proclaimed sultan and he takes command of the Turkish armies . The battle continues . At first the Serbs who fight bravely have made headway into the Turkish flank , but the treachery of Luc Brancovic seals the fate of the Serbian army as Luc flees the battlefield . Prince Lazar is made prisoner and too late he realises the loyalty of Obilic as he sees his head impaled on a pike . His own fate is the same , and a Serbian man volunteers to let one of his hands be cut by the Turks as price for taking Lazar's and Obilic's heads back to their people for a decent Christian burial .

Today it is Prince Lazar and warrior Obilic who are remembered centuries later by the Serbian people , for they were men of honour ; and while power on the earth is fleeting , the glory of having fought with honour is immortal !!

The movie is hampered by it's low budget , for it was produced by a medium sized European country and not by Hollywood with it's big bucks . So the battle could not be reproduced on a vast scale . Instead it is shown as a series of local actions . But acting by everyone is good and background music is decent . The emotions on every Serb's face as they face the impending peril are authentic . The old sultan Murad is a picture of calm as he rentlessly carries out his sinister intentions , and he faces his own assassination by Obilic calmly too . In contrast , his son sultan Bayazid is haughty and arrogant as he carries out his task cruelly .

Those who like history ( like I do ) will be interested in this movie . I would rate it as okay .

Two and a half stars .
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