Storm, the winner of the Amnesty International Film Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2009, is one of the finest independent foreign films I have seen in some time. It is superb for narrative story-telling which, to me, is the key to a truly great film.
Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox) is a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague. She is leading a trial against a former commander of the Yugoslavian National Army who is accused of the deportation and killing of scores of Bosnian-Muslims during the war there in the 1990s. Hannah takes her key witness back to the scene of the crimes and he commits suicide, thus causing her case to seem futile. But Hannah, who is not the real hero in the film, will not give up. She goes to the burial site of her witness in Sarajevo and there meets his sister Mira, who has been living in Germany with her husband and child for over a decade, having begun a new life outside the past. Hannah realizes that Mira (Anamaria Marinca) has more to say about the crimes and the former commander than she is telling. She persists to get information from Mira. Despite the threats against her life Mira agrees to travel to the Hague and testify in the trial. Hannah and Mira will risk their lives to expose the truth. The twist is that they discover that they have both been sold out by people they trusted, even loved.
Storm, which is directed wonderfully by Hans-Christian Schmid, won the Flyway Film Festival award for “Best Narrative Feature.” It is a superb film, proving that great films are often found in libraries and on Netflix, not in the theaters. This is a riveting film with superb acting. The story carries you from start to finish while it probes the issues of the scars of ethnic cleansing, justice and betrayal. It is the product of the Film Movement Series, which produces a new independent film each month. You can find more about this fine film at the Film Movement web site.