Playing Soldiers 1967
Mali vojnici (original title)
1h 32min | Drama | 27 December 1967 (Yugoslavia)
After the end of WW2 a blonde boy arrives at an orphanage made for the children of Partizans or people being killed in the war. The headmaster knows that the boy’s parents were Nazis but conceals that fact from others, fearing violence by vengeful children. He invents the boy’s life story, but the other children get suspicious.
First of all, this can hardly be called a war movie. It takes place right after the Second world war, in an asylum for war orphans, somewhere in Bosnia or Serbia.
Main characters are orphans. There are only four adults in the movie, and only two of them appear for more than a few minutes. This is only one of the reasons for my comparing it to “Lord of the flies”. Isolated background and raw cruelty are other. As “Lord”, this is a story ABOUT children, but not FOR children. But the reasons for cruelty and hate here are obvious. We feel compassion for the torturers as well as for the victim. And the end leaves us wondering… but I do not want to say too much.
There are certain remarkable scenes in the movie (for example: a kid on a horse moving backwards through grain fields); some could even be called surrealistic. All in all, I would say that the movie was ahead of its time, especially in Yugoslav cinematography. Let me also mention that the movie was due to compete in Cannes, but that year’s festival was canceled.
I certainly recommend this movie to anyone who can find it. I doubt that it is out on DVD, so if you want to see it I guess you can only hope to catch it on some of ex-Yugoslav TV stations, as I did.
Director: Bahrudin ‘Bato’ Cengic
Writer: Mirko Kovac
Stars: Stojan ‘Stole’ Arandjelovic, Marija Tocinoski, Zaim Muzaferija
Release Date: 27 December 1967 (Yugoslavia)
Also Known As: Little Soldiers