The Weight of Chains

“The Weight of Chains” is a Canadian documentary film that takes a critical look at the role that the US, NATO and the EU played in the tragic breakup of a once peaceful and prosperous European state – Yugoslavia. The film, bursting with rare stock footage never before seen by Western audiences, is a creative first-hand look at why the West intervened in the Yugoslav conflict, with an impressive roster of interviews with academics, diplomats, media personalities and ordinary citizens of the former Yugoslav republics.

The film began with production in late 2009 in several cities throughout Canada including Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, continued in early 2010 in the United States – Columbus, Dayton, New York and Washington, and was finalized in the Summer of 2010 in Slovenia – Ljubljana; Croatia – Vukovar, Djakovo, Jasenovac, Zagreb, Gospic, Knin; Bosnia-Herzegovina – Sarajevo, Trebinje; Serbia – Belgrade, Subotica, Kosovska Mitrovica, Trepca, Pristina, Orahovac, Prizren and Strpce. “The Weight Of Chains” was completed in October 2010.

The director of this film, Boris Malagurski, has made several films to date, the last one being “Kosovo | Can You Imagine?”, a controversial documentary exposing how remaining Serbs in Kosovo have little or no basic human rights, which won several awards on film festivals around the world and was broadcasted as well. “The Weight Of Chains” presents a Canadian perspective on Western involvement in the division of the ethnic groups within Yugoslavia and show that the war was forced from outside – regular people wanted peace. However, extreme fractions on all sides, fuelled by their foreign mentors, outvoiced the moderates and even ten years after the last conflict – the hatred remains and people continue spreading myths of what really happened in the 1990s. Why did all this happen?

This film will also present positive stories from the war – people helping each other regardless of their ethnic background, stories of bravery and self-sacrifice. The aim is to come up with a powerful weapon that people who are against war and hatred can use as a collection of good arguments in their favor. The disunity among peoples populating the Balkans have marked the last couple of centuries. Let’s start a new page, today, in the 21st century.

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  • Anba

    Yugoslavia was great for the Serbs, because they could sit on their ass and have one month paid vacancy in Croatia. Plus 11 months paid in their firms which existed as social services. Why film doesn’t speak about killing of the Croat parliament representatives, or robbery of Croatia during currency switch in 1919? .Or exact numbers of people killed in Jasenovac. Or serbian ruining Vukovar or Dubrovnik? Etc…

    This documentary is disgrace for documentaryheaven.com.

  • yo

    same happned here in romania we have to do something like u know chemtrails in the air get down to ue un nato washington pentagon u know the chemtrails go down from 10000 thousand feet they get down with full speed and w e u dye

  • agentsuperdave

    if you don’t allow fullscreen on your video embeds, then we go somewhere else to watch documentaries.

    • rg57

      I never watch embeds, regardless of which features are enabled. I just follow the link to the original source (in this case YouTube).

  • pwndecaf

    I will likely never understand the mess that is the first part of this film. Everyone seems to be divided in one way or another. I don’t see how the west can be blamed for that. I’m not saying it isn’t possible – I’m saying I don’t see it.

    The second half of the film is predictable. The west takes advantage of a bad situation (perhaps created by them but certainly made worse by them/us) and a few gain while most everyone else suffers.

    You could say the US is colonizing itself in the same way.

  • bringmeredwine

    This doc is so full of information, dating back to WW1, it was really hard to absorb it all. (at least in my case).
    There’s lots of news footage and interviews.
    There are subtitles in english, which switch to ? depending on who is speaking. I had to read very, very fast!
    The narrator has a very wry sense of humour, which I found odd, considering the inhumanity and atrocities that are described, mostly from the war in the 1990’s and during WW2.
    It’s outrageous to imagine that all the strife of the 90’s was manipulated by “the powers that be”. All over money and power.
    Really sickening if all this was true.
    This mind -set led me to wonder, today; when I heard that some of South Korea’s banks were hacked, leaving their accounts and bank machines frozen.
    Of course, one assumes the North Koreans are behind this attack; but are they really?

  • ivanhorvat

    This filmmaker should decide what he wants – peace in the region or to demonize croatians while reducing the ”national guilt level” for serbia. he cannot possibly achieve both. Dispute between serbia and croatia did not start in ww2 when croat nationalists ethnically cleansed the land. Like 99% of people who ever engage in this sort of actions, croat nationalists believed they were exacting righteous vengeance for something that happened before. In this case, for the serb domination in the previous attempts of south slav unity (kingdom of SHS) The history of cro-serb disputes goes even further back and should be either studied all the way to its roots, or it should be totally forgotten. I am a croat, and i accept what my people have done as a fact, and i am ashamed of it. I believe all croats should be ashamed of it. (i am refering to mass murder of serbs, bosnian muslims and whatnot during ww2) Filmmaker should have known better than to deny serb war crimes. Let’s be serious, If ratko mladić did not commit war crimes then i am abraham lincoln.

    Also, yugoslavia was not such a paradise as is here depicted. It was very dangerous to criticise government in any of the aspects of its operations. Usually tito would have the criticisers killed (no exaggeration). Also, yugoslavia was indeed serb-dominated, naturally, cause serbia was the biggest and the most powerful republic. Every nation / empire that gains power at one point decides that it is superior to others and that it should subdue them. To be more precise, a current with such ideas develops within the nation, and gains sway to this or that degree. Every single case in the history of this wretched world confirms it. Serbs are no different. If croats were the most powerful among south slavs, they would be no different.. its the same basic ”reptillian” thirst for power. If serbs actually admitted this, they would be the first in the history of the world, so ofcourse, this cannot be expected. It is true that on balance, in yugoslavia the life actually was of greater quality than it is here today, at least during yugoslav golden age, before the interference of the west took sway. and the fact that serbs were dominating wasnt a problem for many – if serbs werent dominating, somebody else would, so whats the difference? What existed of the cro-serb and other disputes got monstrously amplified by our governments, where officials sought personal gain, cro and slo ones in accordance with western interests. One thing is true about croatia – it took her panties off all to eagerly for the greedy western dicks, as for the vatican. Serbs let them selves get robbed mainly by serbs.

    What needs to be said is that we cannot put all the blame on the west (for the disintegration of our former federation) although there isnt much we could do once they employed the ”economic hitmen”. Key individuals were targeted as always, to whom irrefusable offers were made.

    About the last serbo croatian war (1990-1995) the filmmaker clearly leans heavily to the serbian side. ”Croatian government was arming itself illegaly.” There is at least as much basis for croats to claim that serbian occupation of croatian territory (using yugoslav army) was illegal. Croatian government decided to leave yugoslavia, cro-serbs didnt want that. But they were in croatia. This disputed territory had serbian majority but the territorry itself was croatian for a long long time. What if the japanese settled in china’s territorry and then want that territorry to become japan because they didnt like chinese government’s decisions? So you see, there are many points of view to this.

    About tuđman- he was ridiculous indeed, he played a crucial role in manipulating the nation into war (he was only following the western power dictates) while allowing couple of families to aquire like all croatian businesses and resources, a situation similar to serbian one, as the film ultimately shows. He also used the catholic-brainwashed state of the people to manipulate them. So lame.

    The idea of the unity of south slavs is a beautiful idea, (since croats are demonised in this film i have to say it – it was originally a croatian idea ) but there were disputes in the manner in which the unity was supposed to be brought into being. It was not necessary that the disputes render the unity impossible but they did, with the help of the west, and it is a damn shame. Together, we mattered to and for the world and actually played one of the leading roles of the whole world-stage. Today we are next to nothing.

    If there is a way of moving towards greater unity among ex-yu peoples it definitely must involve the stopping of the vicious circle of vengeance. Everybody will always find reasons to want vengeance unless he or she chooses to forgive. Look at how easily propaganda prepares people for war. Why shouldn’t it just as easily prepare them for peace through forgiveness? You can stage an event that will spark a war, just like that you can stage an event that will spark compassion and forgiveness. A PR (propaganda) effort should be made in this direction. This would definitely meet resistance. In croatia, right wing propagandists are making sure that the wrongs which were done to croats by serbs are neither forgotten nor forgiven. (without ofcourse the mention of wrongs done by croats to serbs AND bosniacs). It’s gotta be the same with serbia. But if we cannot forgive each other we have an ugly future ahead of us. I like to think that we are moving towards a time when we wont be so prone to conflicts, when we will have become more disposed towards peace, unity, forgiveness when we will come into positive contact more more and more.. i would be happy if that was so

    Finally i whish to express to serbs that may be watching this and reading comments that i am ashamed for the croat youth ustaše wanna-bes who to this day uphold openly the hate for serbs, as i know resonable serbs are ashamed for their equivalent chetnik youth. They only perpetuate the vicious circle that we must stop. i think you serbs are a special people , i admire your music and movies (your movies are way better then ours) and i hope one day we may become allies.

    • you

      Serbia has been demonized too much and there is nothing wrong in ”lowering its national guilt level”. In fact, how can anyone expect better relations in the balkans with such overproportioned serb demonization? You talk about forgiveness and such stuff but are you sure that you yourself are ready to forgive?

    • gasfgs

      nobody denied serb war crimes, author is just trying to give serbs some air.

  • fernando

    If you want a more objective picture of the inner conflicts in ex yu watch ”the death of yugoslavia” here on documentary heaven. every republic has blood on their hands, and it doesnt start with croat ethnic cleansing in ww2. that is just the serb excuse for being the main perpetrator of conflicts during yugoslav wars. and serbs werent the heroic people trying to save yugoslavia from traitor croats and slovenes lol they qwere fighting for a greater serbia

  • Canadian

    As a Canadian, I strongly object to the description inidacting that this film gives a Canadian perspective. It intentionally misleads viewers creating the false impresion that the filmmaker is offering a neutral third party perspective which is clearly not the case here.

    The film maker was born in Serbia in 1988 and moved to Canada in 2005 and the film was made in 2010…

    I spent five years living in Spain, does that qualify me to give a Spanish perspective? NO.

    At the very least it should be Serbian-Canadian, although seeing as the majority of his formative years were spent in Serbia, I’m not sure even that would be accurate.