Lifers imitate artists

Probably few people would have heard of the film director Slobodan Praljak if he had not received wide international publicity in another role, as the commander of the forces which destroyed the monumental bridge in Mostar. The Internet Movie Database lists three films under his credits (two of which are documentaries from 1990), in addition to a bit part as "himself" in the 1995 documentary The death of Yugoslavia, where he appeared alongside some much better-known performers. The Croatian film database lists just one film, Povratak Katarine Kožul from 1989. I have not seen the film and do not know much about it, but it would appear to have been a serious production: screenplay cowritten with Abdullah Sidran, soundtrack by Arsen Dedić, and a cast which includes some very well respected actors. Unless there is some important information missing, though, it would appear that Mr Praljak's film career was brief and not much celebrated.

Now he believes that he has the opportunity to find a new audience, though. AFP is reporting today (sorry, I don't have a link) that he "intends to show four movies he directed in order to prove his innocence" as a part of his defence before ICTY, where he is accused of war crimes. These would appear to be more documentaries (docudramas, perhaps?) where he is playing "himself," and AFP's description specifies "In one film Praljak, portraying himself, depicts his role in preventing a group of soldiers intending to kill imprisoned enemies. In another he calms an armed Muslim who enters his office demanding compensation for his destroyed house." The reviews will be an unusual format, but then depending on how one counts, showing four films at ICTY will either double or multiply his potential audience. He has already offered the Tribunal his views on ethnonational physics.

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