Twilight of Heroes - Croatia, Europe and the International Tribunal

Twilight of Heroes - Croatia, Europe and the International Tribunal

"Croatia Twilight of Heroes" deals with the surprising and dramatic developments in Croatia following the death of its first president, Franjo Tudjman, in December 1999. It is a film about a country coming to terms with its recent past after a squalid war; about the power and influence of international war crimes courts; and about a society looking for its place in a new Europe.

This is a documentary where all the key protagonists in Croatia's transformation get their say. We speak to both of Tudjman's successors as presidents of Croatia, Stipe Mesic and Ivo Josipovic, two men who drove reconciliation between Zagreb and Croatia's neighbours and pushed for the investigation of war crimes committed by Croats. We meet the former chief prosecutor of the international tribunal in The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, who sought but failed to get a conviction of Croatia's most popular general. We hear from the supporters of the late president Tudjman, those bitter about the direction Croatia has taken since 1999. We talk to Ivo Sanader, former prime minister, who remade Tudjman's party, the HDZ, in pushing through EU-inspired reforms and has recently been sentenced for corruption; and to representatives of war veteran organisations. We hear the voices of writers, film makers, civil society activists who capture the scars, and shifts, of the new Croatia.

The film takes us to Vukovar where we meet victims of Serb paramilitaries and a Serb who works for inter-ethnic reconciliation; and to the Adriatic island Brijuni where Croatian Serb actor Rade Serbedzija, who returned after 12 years abroad, now stages theatre productions with a new generation of Croatian actors.

The film opens with the state funeral of Franjo Tudjman in December 1999. The man who had led his country to independence and claimed victory in its wars, culminating in the reconquest of almost a third of Croatian territory in a few days in summer 1995, had succumbed to his illness. His supporters, such as the author Nenad Ivankovic, believed Tudjman had done enough to secure his place in the eternal pantheon of Croatian national heroes: "Today, in post-modern times, it is not a nice thing to say, but the whole of world history shows: a statesman who wins a war and establishes a state there is no greater deed than that." For Jakov Sedlar, a film director who made a film portraying Tudjman, the general and founding president, as Croatia's George Washington, it was none other than God himself who had chosen Franjo Tudjman from among millions of Croats to lead his nation through the desert of war to the holy land of independence. Read more …

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