Serbian film promoted at Bosnia’s Sarajeva Film Festival draws criticism

SERBIA-Serbian Director Rados Bajic’s Heroes of Halyard met with crit­icism in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the grounds that it glori­fied the war criminal Serbian commander. The film, which was promoted at the 29th Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) on Tuesday, portrays the Chetnik forces led by the war criminal Dragoljub-Draza Mihailovic as positive actors who helped in the great res­cue operation of the allied forces behind enemy lines in World War II. The film shows that the operation to rescue the allied pi­lots was organized by US aviation in cooperation with the then Yugoslav army in December 1944. Criticizing the promotion of the film at the festival, Sarajevo Mayor Benjamina Karic said on Facebook that the attempt to justify Draza Mihailovic and the Chetnik movement in Sarajevo is “unacceptable.” In a state­ment, the Culture and Sports Ministry of the Sarajevo Canton said: “We do not support the content that supports the Chet­nik movement in Sarajevo,” it said. The Canadian Genocide Re­search Institute dubbed the film a “Chetnik drama.” “Sarajevo is a city that was besieged by the Serbian forces during the 1992-1995 war. It is shameful to promote such a film,” the institute said on Facebook. The film tells a story about the three Jovic brothers and their family, torn between opposing ideologies. Responding to criticism, a film festival official said: “In order to inform the public, I would like to state that the film in question was not shown within the scope of SFF. On the contrary, some frames from the film were shared under the heading of future projects. SFF will not allow the advertisement of films with his­torical interpretation.” Operation Halyrad was carried out by Chetnik soldiers under the command of Serbian commander Mihaolivic in 1944 during the Second World War, while more than 500 Americans were evacuated in the operation.

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