It is four years since the Dayton Accord proclaimed peace in Bosnia, but shortly before the war ended, one of the worst crimes of the war took place in Screbrenica: the massacre of more than 7000 Muslim men who had been under the protection of Dutch UN peacekeepers. A Cry from the Grave is the first documentary to tell the full story of the massacre – and of the surviving relatives’ plea for justice.

Jean-Rene Ruez, the war crimes tribunal’s chief investigator in Srebrenica,  collects evidences for a trial. His remark on the findings: what we experience is like “the pictures in black and white nobody expected to see back in colour.” But we do get to see the horror in colour for 104 minutes in Leslie Woodhead’s very effective film, which takes a 100- percent stand against the Serb leaders. The film accuses the UN of incompetence and the Dutch soldiers of not being qualified for the war situation they were in. It includes unique archival material from the days in July 1995 when the massacre took place, including footage shot by the Serbs during their invasion. Woodhead has some key eyewitnesses: the interpreter who lost his parents and brother; a woman who lost husband and son; a man who miraculously escaped death. Piecing together those elements, with a voice-over commentary, the film recounts hour for hour how the UN peacekeepers lose control, how the Serbs unscrupulously evacuate women and children, and systematically execute the men. To build up the suspense, Woodhead uses intertitles giving the time and actions for every hour, accompanied by gunshots. As in his 444 Days – about the Americans held hostage at the embassy in Iran – he manages to make viewers feel they are present as the events develop.

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