1925, in Dobroujda, an area of Romania on the Bulgarian border, populated by a variety of nationalities: to an isolated army garrison come Captain Dumitriu (Bleont) and his wife Marie-Therese (Scott Thomas). To avenge the massacre of frontier guards by Macedonian bandits, Bleont takes Bulgarian villagers hostage; but when he’s ordered to shoot them, encouraged by his wife’s humane sympathy for their captives, he refuses. Firmly rooted in history, this is far more than just another costume drama; the insane savagery of the conflict depicted inevitably recalls more recent Balkan hostilities and ‘ethnic cleansing’.
It’s a tough, unsentimental film, fuelled by a hatred of nationalistic delirium and tribal aggression, its anguish wonderfully incarnated by Scott Thomas’s characteristically fine performance.
Kristin Scott Thomas, Claudiu Bleont, Olga Tudorache, Marcel Lures