Croatia names ‘Blacks’ as Oscar entry

Pic shows corrosive power of fear and hatred

“The Blacks,” an unrelentingly dark depiction of the corrosive power of fear and hatred, is Croatia’s entry for the foreign-language Oscar.

Directed by Zvonimir Juric and Goran Devic, the pic is a bleak and disturbing story of the last day of the Balkans civil war. It depicts the disastrous attempt by a black-clad paramilitary unit to take revenge on an unseen enemy before an official ceasefire takes effect.

With elements of dark farce and nerve-wracking detail — such as the torture room a rookie member of the squad stumbles upon while wandering around the unit’s bleak concrete HQ — the film, produced by Ankica Juric Tilic of Kinorama, does not make for easy viewing.

Film, chosen by the Film Artists Assn. of Croatia, picked up three top awards in Croatia’s national film festival in Pula last year and also won kudos at the Ljubljana Film Festival in neighboring Slovenia.