23 years after the bombing of Serbia in 1999, the dropping of depleted uranium bombs and the destruction of chemical plants by NATO, the team of this documentary road movie travels in search of survivors after the ecological genocide, while permanently polluted water, air and land continue to poison…

Director’s statement:

This film is emphatically critical of the sense of injustice that results from the unlimited power of the great over the small. The film’s story seeks to free a person from the heavy burden of helplessness and nothingness. Does it offer hope !!!

The attitude of inequality deeply hurts people all over the world and raises the question of who takes it for granted the right to judge the small and “disobedient”. The main suspect for that is the NATO pact, which consists of the most powerful countries in the world. Distrust is growing, no one apologizes, pays damages, but just keep quiet and consider themselves still untouchable.

“SMALL AND BIG” –  short documentary film

In 1999, the NATO alliance bombed Serbia, or FR Yugoslavia. The action is called “Merciful Angel”. On that occasion, aircraft bombers also drop depleted uranium bombs in southern Serbia. “Humanitarian” intervention causes human and environmental catastrophe by bombing chemical plants …civilian collateral human casualties (archival materials).

About twenty years later…..

Landscape of nature from a car. Subjective view from the car driving through meadows, fields, pastures… the car enters Bujanovac. In search of a female biologist, the researcher gets out of the car and enters the house in the center (trying to talk to the biologist S.M. is quite hard in the beginning but something “”breaks in her and she opensup to the camera,…”I saw a lot of tragedies and documented them…”).

Landscape of nature from a car. The subjective view from the car driving through the meadows, fields, pastures, arable land…in search of survivors and families of the deceased, the car enters the village of Bratoslavce about 20 km from Vranje (the village had 300 villagers, today there are less than 150 of them, some have died and some have left the village). Unexpectedly, you can’t hear the dogs barking or the kids moaning.

Nightfall. Country cemetery. A panorama of graves. Emphasis on children’s graves. The sun is setting for the clouds.

Dusk. The child is playing with a plastic plane on the floor of the room. The woman sits on the chair and begins her confession (…”three years in a row, each year someone closed died: first my mother, then my husband and the next year my father… they got sick when there was a bombing, everyone says it was from depleted uranium… they all got cancer…,I fear for my child, many have already died or are still sick…).

Nightfall. Same country cemetery. Portraits: a woman, a man, a mother with a small child in a cemetery, in front of the graves of her loved ones. United in sorrow.

Statistics say that there is no depleted uranium in narrower Serbia, but that there are even more patients with malignancies and similar diseases, which are related to NATO’s attack on chemical and petrochemical plants, which have increased the ecological catastrophe even more.

The car is heading towards Kragujevac…, we see overgrown ruins, through his small camera the researcher captures the former leading man of the military industry from this city, who himself is the victim of the action of chemical agents resulting from the bombing of dangerous targets. In the conversation, he explains that the bombing of Serbia at the time is not only our local problem but also the least regional, particles of various toxic and flammable substances and gases “crossed” our borders and ended up in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece… he is still in treatment today.

Village of Barič, the exterior of the chemical industry factory “Prva Iskra”, in the former reservoir in 1999 there were 100 tons of hydrofluoric acid. These poisons were released into the Sava River the day before the bombing of this reservoir (conversation with a direct witness of the event, otherwise a long-term and severe lung patient).

The driving car shows landscape of a ruined refinery, nitro, petrochemicals (Pančevo and surroundings). Rusty substations in weeds, warehouses with diesel fuel and petroleum products…screws rattle, doors and windows squeak…silent and abandoned witnesses and monuments of “humanitarian” intervention…

Storm is coming. The wind bends the branches of the trees, takes away the leaves, the dirt goes to the sky… but only a part, there is a lot left in nature and people.

Statement by Radoslav D., a former nitrogen plant official in Pančevo, in charge of environmental protection and occupational safety. He confesses the tragedy that has befallen this area, when a day of thick black smoke was over Pančevo after the bombing.

The Naftagas refinery has been bombed on several occasions in Novi Sad. Archive recordings of the exterior of the former refinery and today’s renovated one. Testimonies of terrible consequences.

Clinical Center of Serbia(Belgrade-Institute of Oncology and Radiology). A room with elderly patients. The other room with sick kids.

The question remaining is whether the increased number of malignant patients occurred due to the effects of depleted uranium, or were caused to a greater extent by remaining from the bombing of dangerous targets, chemical and biological agents. The profession is not synchronised, and citizens are still getting more sick.

Another question remains whether NATO members will ever acknowledge their wrongdoing and thus pay for the damage done and rehabilitate the territory in an ecological sense.

Strong wind blowing. Under the gusts of the wind the branches bend, leaves and dirt go up into the sky…

For the first time, an official report from the parliamentary commission set up to investigate the consequences of the bombing is expected.


Želimir Guardiol