'The Bridge' Mostar
TV Documentary, NHK Japan & HD Thames 1994
A Provisional Opening Script
A Second Rough Plan For Early Sequences
By Christopher Long
See The Bridge
See Main Index
1. A stylised still graphic of the bridge in solid black against a white background in total silence (outline derived from a still photo). 5
2. Title appears briefly across stylised bridge motif in total silence. 5
3. Slow dissolve from stylised bridge motif into a true colour representation of the bridge. Mellow/peaceful sounds of bird song and gushing water slowly become audible as the true image appears.
(Sound reference needed) 5
4. The words MOSTAR 1989 MOSTAR 1990 MOSTAR 1991 follow each other across the screen. As 1991 appears the image of the bridge slowly loses its colour and dissolves back into the stylised opening black motif as MOSTAR 1992 rolls across the screen. 10
5. The background darkens until the stylised black bridge motif is swallowed up though the words MOSTAR 1992 remain. 5
6. The words MOSTAR 1992 disappear and the viewer is suddenly assaulted by a bombardment of images. A barrage of hundreds of split-second images of sniper-shots, mortar blasts, machine-gun rounds, tracer and rocket fire & flares (mostly night shots) are interspersed with vivid daytime images of frightened faces, fleeing refugees, corpses, mortuary scenes, hospital scenes, dynamited houses, destroyed mosques & churches, and revving tanks. The sound and images continue at full volume/impact for an indecent length of time. (Images sourced from stills, video, etc. Sound from archives) 10
7. The images and sound slowly dissolve into an entirely white screen with intermittent gunfire in the background. 5
8. Out of the white screen a true colour image of the bridge, with the centre blown out of it, slowly emerges. 5
9. The first insert appears (lower screen right) with the first interviewee surveying the wrecked bridge (from his insert position) which fills the full screen. He is the engineer responsible for bridges in Mostar.
End of intro sequence and start of the main body of the documentary.
Throughout the programme a male voice is the neutral informer.
Throughout the programme a female voice translates all dialogue.
10. Interview/testimony of engineer responsible for bridges in Mostar. Establish his face and voice in the insert which spreads to fill the screen (a format followed for all other interviewees). He describes in quite mundane terms his affection for the bridge, its relevance to him and his family (predominantly Croat) on a day-to-day basis and as a symbol of unification. He used to live on the East bank of the Neretva but when the Serbs invaded Mostar from the south and east, taking over the bulk of the city, he and his family fled to safety on the west side of the bridge (points out the position and an insert shows the layout of the city and homes in on the location). Before the war this bridge was vital to everybody. The old bridge was for pedestrians only so people would cross it several times a day and stand around on it chatting with friends. They all loved it. Tourists came from all over the world to see it and photograph it, but for Mostar people it was personal, very special to them. He describes how it was constructed a 430 year-old miracle of engineering although, according to legend, the architect who designed it for Sullieman The Magnificent ran away and hid because he had been told he would be executed if it fell down.
"Before the war I suppose I was a Yugoslav but mostly I was a man from Mostar. You people have your Emperors and Kings. We had a beautiful bridge. We saw it every day. We used it every day. It was ours it belonged to all of us, Serbs, Muslims and Croats."
11. End of first interview. Natural pause and a 3-D contour map of the Balkans appears geographical features only: rivers, mountains and a few ancient cities to establish the scale: Thessaloniki, Skopje, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Belgrade, Mostar, Venice, Vienna, Constantinople (Istanbul) etc. with the rivers Danube, Sava, Neretva, etc. No political borders or references. The map evolves to illustrate the following:
Very briefly a neutral male voice explains that Mostar lies on a geographical fault line. It lies on an ancient trading route that linked the Occident with the Orient before and during the ancient Roman and Greek empires. The Balkan peoples are a rich mixture of Slavs, Mediterranean Dalmatians, Celts, Vlachs, Greeks, Croats, and Germanic and Oriental stock. For thousands of years they have travelled, traded and intermarried. As Rome declined and Constantinople rose, Europe divided itself into a Christian West and an Islamic south-east while the Christians themselves divided into Catholic and Orthodox faiths. And roughly speaking it was along the River Neretva that the Catholic and Orthodox and Islamic traditions met and at Mostar and in Sarajevo that they learnt to live in civilised harmony with one another.
Always on the edge of someone elses empire Greek, Roman, Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian the Balkan republics formed the bridge between East and West, Christian and Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic, Slav and Dalmatian. And it was in the heart of this region, at the narrowest part of the Neretva river, that Sulleiman the Magnificent built his bridge in 1
12. End of graphic and a natural pause. The screen is filled with footage of Mostar (avoiding the old bridge) from a height and sufficient distance to show the city as a whole with the river snaking away into the distance. Pans and zooms onto the East bank, showing the destruction, military vehicles, sandbagged facades, chaos, mess, militia, gunmen, etc.
13. I dont know why the Serbs wanted to attack our city, says a voice.
An insert appears introducing 14 year-old Jasna. We meet her in the wrecked forecourt of what were once blocks of flats where she lived. Nationalist and paramilitary graffiti and shrapnel all over the walls.
She doesnt really know why the Serbs wanted the city for themselves because Serbs and Muslims have traditionally lived peacefully as the majority of the population for centuries. Her father is a Croat. Her grandmother is a Serb. She was horrified when the attacks from the Platina mountains began. At first she went on going to school and she and her friends never believed they would be affected. But conditions got worse when the Croats and Muslim refugees from the city centre to the east fled across the bridge to the west, under the Hum mountains. By then, in the Spring of 1992, the Serbs had even captured parts of the west bank and water supplies and food dried up as the roads were cut off and they were surrounded, all round here (she points out the position and an insert shows the layout of the city and homes in on the location). At least at that time, she says, the Croats in Hercegovina were their allies and Croatia over there gave her some link with the outside world. Her father was fighting with the Croats when they launched a massive attack on Mostar to recapture it from the Serbs in June 1992 and for while she lived in hope. Her father was killed just as they started to hear that Muslims and Croats in Hercegovina were fighting against each other around Prozor, to the north, and it soon became clear that the Hercegovinan Croats wanted Mostar as the capital of their own mini-state Herceg-Bosna. That was when her 17 year-old brother and two of uncles disappeared. They were all held in the Heliodrome, she says, or perhaps the Sports Stadium about a mile away. She couldnt see them. She identified the body of her brother because her mother coudnt face it. She doesnt believe that the mutilation of his body was caused by him falling off a wall while trying to escape...
Four hundred and thirty years ago
this once beautiful bridge or Most
AERIAL SHOT OF BRIDGE »
S/I MAP (A) » ZOOMING IN
THE RIVER NERETVA AND
was built on an ancient trade route.
Crossing the River Neretva at its narrowest
point, it linked East with West and united
religions, cultures and traditions.
The flourishing city which grew around it
was called Mostar.
Until nearly three years ago when it was
destroyed a victim of the insanity of war.
ARCHIVE OF WAR
A city destroyed. A country torn apart.
Men and women slaughtered by their
neighbours. Desperate, terrified families
driven from their burning homes the
corpses of loved ones left behind. Their crime?
having the wrong name, the wrong faith,
the wrong traditions.
S/I MAP (B) OF MOSTAR
Croat guns destroyed the bridge,
dividing Mostar into three. The front
line ran through the heart of the city.
To the north and west, the Croats.
To the south and east, the Serbs.
Trapped between them, the Muslims.
MOSTAR EAST BANK
In Mostar, UN troops now keep an uneasy peace.
In the past three and a half years the body
of Yugoslavia has been torn apart region
by region, town by town, house by house.
S/I MAP OF EUROPE
UP TO 1913 »
MIX TO EUROPE
POST 1914 »
MIX TO MAP
Yugoslavia was an invention at the end
of the First World War.
It united at least six republics, several languages
and two rival groups of Christians with their
Many of the Muslims were Europeans whose
ancestors converted to Islam under Turkish rule.
During World War 11 a bloody civil war involved
Croat fascists, largely Serbian communists and
Muslims on both sides.
But reunification under Tito collapsed after the fall
of the Iron Curtain.
In 1991 bitter memories were reawakened.
Cynical politicians used nationalist propaganda
to whip up ethic terror.
N.B. INSERT IMAGES
OR MAP TO FULFIL
Here, in the Spring of 1992, the fighting
was brutal. This once beautiful city fell
victim first to occupying Serb forces, then to
Croat guns and dynamite.
Thousands of refugees fled the city.
The remaining mixed population fled their homes
and moved across town to be trapped in ghettos.
MOSTAR WEST BANK
Across the bridge, away from the devastated
Muslim areas is a different town.
BOULEVARD SHOTS, ETC
Here, in the Croat dominated northern half
of the city, the shops are well stocked, the bars busy.
On the surface at least, life looks normal.
But few Muslims from the east bank dare to stroll
these streets. They feel safer in their ruins.
SNIPERS' CORNER, THE HILLS
Back on the east bank, at the height of the
fighting, this junction was a deadly place
Snipers Corner. From positions high in
the surrounding hills both Serb and Croat
snipers picked off civilians as they carried
casualties to the only available hospital.
ASIM IN HIS GARDEN
The only safe route was through a hairdressers shop.
One man and his family were able to save many lives.
ASIM EXPLAINS WHY
HIS HOUSE WAS A LIFE LINE
ASIM'S WIFE CUTTING HAIR
Up to a thousand people a day slipped
through the rooms of Asims house, dodging
snipers as the hairdressing went on.
ASIM'S WIFE TALKS ABOUT
HER WHY WOMEN NEEDED
THEIR HAIR CUT MORE THAN
Dejzavira talks as she cuts hair...
ASIM LEADS US ALONG
THE SURVIVAL ROUTE
THROUGH HIS HOUSE
SHOWING US THE ENEMY
POSITIONS, THE DAMAGE
AND THEN TO THE CLINIC
Asim talks shows us the shelled clinic and
introduces us to a doctor who takes us in.
With no proper hospital, this former
Institute for Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
was pressed into service. Though marked
as a hospital, constant shell-fire scored
many direct hits. Nurses were killed here
and six of the seven ambulance drivers
were hurt. Serb and Muslim doctors
worked together, constantly struggling
to get the Bosnian army to move their
ammunition stores out of the building.
Here they struggled with appalling injuries
without electricity, running water, basic
drugs or anaesthetics.
See The Bridge
See Main Index
From this stage on, 03-11-94, director Paul Kafno decided to write the rest of the script himself apparently needing no further assistance.
The author would like to express his deep gratitude to his many good friends in Mostar who, in the years 1992-95, offered him shelter, great kindness and support under appalling circumstances. Special thanks go to: Zehra and Laila Oglic; Asim, Dzevahira, Selma and Sabina Segatalo; Anka & Lazo Lazetic; and Fatima & Ismet Memic. Sadly Ismet Memic died in 1997 as a consequence of the torture and abuse he received while in Serb and Croat concentration camps in 1992-93.
© (1994) Christopher Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
The text and graphical content of this and linked documents are the copyright of their author and or creator and site designer, Christopher Long, unless otherwise stated. No publication, reproduction or exploitation of this material may be made in any form prior to clear written agreement of terms with the author or his agents.