The Weight of Chains

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The Weight of Chains
The Weight of Chains.jpg
Official poster
Directed by Boris Malagurski
Produced by Boris Malagurski
Screenplay by Boris Malagurski
Starring Michel Chossudovsky
Lewis MacKenzie
Vlade Divac
John Perkins
Michael Parenti
Scott Taylor
Jože Mencinger
James Bissett
John Bosnitch
Branislav Lečić
Srđa Trifković
Slobodan Samardžić
Music by Novo Sekulović
Jasna Đuran
Kevin Macleod
Edited by Boris Malagurski
Marko Janković
Anastasia Trofimova
Malagurski Cinema
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures (Worldwide)
Release date(s)
  • December 17, 2010 (2010-12-17) (Australia)
  • February 19, 2011 (2011-02-19) (Canada)
Running time 124 minutes
Country Canada
Language English, Serbian
Budget $21,850

The Weight of Chains is a 2010 documentary film directed by Boris Malagurski[1] which analyzes the role that the United States, NATO and the European Union played in the breakup of Yugoslavia. It was released on December 17, 2010. The production company Malagurski Cinema is based in Vancouver, Canada. Since 2012, the film has been distributed by Journeyman Pictures.[2]


The film was sponsored by Serbian diaspora community organizations, the Centre for Research on Globalization, and private individuals amongst others.[1][3][4]

The filming of the documentary started in 2009 in Canada, with interviews in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. Filming continued in early 2010 in the United States – Columbus, Dayton, New York City and Washington, and was finalized in the Summer of 2010 in SloveniaLjubljana; CroatiaVukovar, Đakovo, Jasenovac, Zagreb, Gospić, Knin; Bosnia-HerzegovinaSarajevo, Trebinje; SerbiaBelgrade, Subotica, Kosovska Mitrovica, Trepča, Priština, Orahovac, Prizren and Štrpce. Post-production ended in October 2010.[5]

Archival footage was provided by Radio Television Serbia.


The Weight Of Chains presents a perspective on Western involvement in the division of the ethnic groups within Yugoslavia, and claims that the war was forced from outside, while ordinary people wanted peace. Malagurski says extreme factions 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 about the 1990s.[6][not in citation given]

The film starts with a brief history of Yugoslavia, explaining the concept of Yugoslavia and how it came to exist. Narrated by Malagurski, the film explains what happened in Yugoslavia during World War II and how Josip Broz Tito's Yugoslavia was formed. The pace slows down as Tito's death is documented, and the author moves on to changes in the Yugoslav economy in the 1980s, with specific mention of Ronald Reagan's National Security Decisions Directive 133 from 1984. This presents U.S. interests in Yugoslavia as promoting the "trend towards a market-oriented Yugoslav economic structure". The role of the National Endowment for Democracy in Yugoslavia is then analyzed, and connected to the formation of G17 Plus. Privatization through liquidation is explained, and presented as a major cause for the rise of ethnic tensions in the late 80s and early 90s, further fueled by Foreign Operations Appropriations Act 101-513, enacted during the George H. W. Bush era.

Slobodan Milošević, Franjo Tuđman and Alija Izetbegović then receive criticism, all of them described as being power-hungry and without much concern for their people. Domestic war-mongers are mentioned also. The regional media are presented as having a major influence on mobilizing public opinion in favor of a conflict. The film then alleges that the West – openly diplomatically and covertly militarily – supported separatist groups and encouraged conflict so that NATO could jump in as peacekeepers for their own interests. The film includes new footage of a village in Bosnia where Serbs and Bosniaks lived together up to the end of the Bosnian war, but were then separated – with Serbs saying goodbye to their Muslim neighbours, who decided to collectively leave to their own entity, in tears.

The topic of Kosovo is covered most out of all the issues, and the history of the region is explained to show why the Kosovo war broke out. The film talks about the medieval Battle of Kosovo, inclusion of Kosovo into the Kingdom of Serbia in 1912, the persecution of Kosovo Serbs during World War II and Tito's Yugoslavia, as well as alleged plans by Albanian nationalists to create an ethnically pure Greater Albania. The film then discusses what interests the Western powers had in Kosovo and why they decided to intervene in a secessionist war in 1999. Questions such as why a cigarette factory was bombed by NATO (and later bought by Philip Morris) are tackled, with the author concluding that the purpose of the war was to economically colonize the country.

This film also presents positive stories from the war – people helping each other regardless of their ethnic background, stories of bravery and self-sacrifice. For this purpose, the widow of Josip Reihl-Kir (former police chief of Osijek, Croatia) Jadranka Reihl-Kir was interviewed concerning her husband's attempts to resolve ethnic issues back in 1991 in a peaceful manner. The widow of Milan Levar, Vesna Levar, was also interviewed and spoke of her husband's fight to expose policies of ethnic cleansing in his hometown of Gospić, Croatia, where Croat forces killed dozens of Serb civilians. Another story covered is that of a young Serbian man by the name of Srđan Aleksić, whose father tells how his son saved a Muslim man from an attack by soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska.

After discussing the wars of the 1990s, the film deals with what happened afterwards and how policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank affected the newly created former Yugoslav states. The author presents his theory that Eastern European states were never meant to be colleagues and equals with the European Union and the West, but rather markets for Western industrial goods and sources of cheap labor. The way in which the debt of the former Yugoslav countries has changed from 1990 to 2010 is graphically depicted, with revelations of how much tax money each citizen of the former Yugoslavia would have to pay in order for their countries to be debt free.

Malagurski's address at the Belgrade premiere of the film at the BELDOCS Film Festival at the Kinoteka theater in 2011


The interviewees in the film include:[4][7][8]

Festival screenings and selections[edit]

The film was due to be shown in the 2011 programme of Serbian film director Emir Kusturica at the Küstendorf Film and Music Festival. However two days before the festival began, the film was removed from the schedule without explanation.[26]


Freelance journalist Damjan Pavlica criticized the film in an article portaled through the online anti-establishment magazine E-novine. Among other criticisms, Pavlica wrote that - despite being labeled as a documentary - The Weight of Chains includes clips from non-documentary movies but the narrator does not point these out.[27] Some critics have described the movie as "shallow propaganda" and historical revisionism, trying to whitewash Serbian guilt for wars after the break-up of Yugoslavia,[27] to minimize, deflect and distort the well-established role of Serbian leaders in the former Yugoslavia's wars.[28]

The Weight of Chains 2[edit]

A trailer was made for a sequel, The Weight of Chains 2, but, as of June 2014, that film has not yet been released.[29][30] The film is being funded in a similar manner to the first film.[31]


  1. ^ a b Culture: "Good people in evil times" Politika Newspaper | August 28, 2010
  2. ^ Journeyman Pictures : Documentaries Serbia – The Weight of Chains – 124 min 30 sec
  3. ^ "Weight of Chains – Sponsors". Malagurski Cinema. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Okovi raspada bivše Jugoslavije Vesti, April 1, 2011
  5. ^ About the film The Weight of Chains web-site
  6. ^ Interview with Boris Malagurski on his new film Novine Toronto | March 26, 2010
  7. ^ New documentary by the Serbian Michael Moore Press
  8. ^ a b c "The Interviewees". Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Milošević calls ex-Canadian Ambassador". IWPR. 
  10. ^ "Popović et al. CIS". ICTY. 
  11. ^ "Popovic et al.-"Srebrenica"". SENSE Tribunal. 
  12. ^ "Stakic-"Prijedor"". SENSE Tribunal. 
  13. ^ "Like the old Yugoslavia it recreates, theme park could go under". Boston Globe. 
  14. ^ "In ex-Yugoslavia, Tito-era nostalgia". NY Times. 
  15. ^ Težina lanaca: Kritika uloge NATO, EU i SAD i raspadu SFRJ BELDOCS 2011
  16. ^ Festival of documentary film at Novi Sad Cultural Centre
  17. ^ Best films of "Beldocs" Dnevnik newspaper[dead link]
  18. ^ The Weight of Chains in Novi Sad Radio Television Vojvodina
  19. ^ "BELDOCS" on a tour throughout Serbia
  20. ^ [1] Raindance Film Festival 2011
  21. ^ Radio Television Serbia | The Weight of Chains in London[dead link]
  22. ^ [2] Raindance Balkan Cinema Strand 2011
  23. ^ [3] MIFF Schedule, End of World Showcase
  24. ^ "El peso de las cadenas" Festival Internacional Del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano
  25. ^ Ann Arbor Docu Fest: The Weight of Chains at Cafe Ambrosia accessed Aug 23, 2014
  26. ^ "Okovi raspada bivše Jugoslavije" (in Serbian; "Shackles of the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia", by Gorana Gligorević, Vesti Online, 1 April 2011, accessed May 25, 2011
  27. ^ a b Pavlica, Damjan. Težina ideoloških lanaca. E-novine, June 23, 2012.
  28. ^
  29. ^ Nema povlačenja, nema predaje Politika
  30. ^ Video on YouTube
  31. ^

External links[edit]