'Carla's List' Michael Schüpbach

Carla Del Ponte in Carla's List by Marcel Schupbach

Carla's List by Marcel SchupbachThe devastating effects of political inertia and lack of moral drive are difficult subjects to capture on film, but Marcel Schüpbach's La Liste de Carla / Carla's List manages to accomplish that feat in an effective and memorable manner. Throughout Schüpbach's 2006 documentary, your attention is constantly focused on the injustices of unpunished crime. Although criminal behavior of the worst kind – in this case, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia – has remained mostly unpunished, through the medium of Swiss prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, a forthright symbol of the sword of justice, new hope arises.

Carla's List depicts episodes of persuasion, confrontation, and frustration as Carla endeavors to bring the perpetrators of genocide in the Balkans to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Those moments are balanced with scenes showing the painful reality of victims still suffering from the knowledge that those responsible for massacring members of their families – in their own home towns – remain free.

Images of the stark graves of the murdered victims contrast with the sweeping affluence and comfort of the world of high politics. The portrayal of the inner workings of Carla's team, including moments of personal reflection in which they express the difficulties of their job, makes you feel that you are part of their dilemma. In fact, we are squarely faced with the question of how to changethe apparent hero-worshipping of hardened criminals in parts of the former Yugoslavia. Our eyes are opened to the outright hypocrisy of those in power who succumb thoughtlessly to the persuasive personalities of criminals, thus allowing inertia – and ineptitude – to maintain a blinkered view of the evil among us.

Yet, Carla and her dedicated team provide are determined to bring those criminals to justice. As different names in her list of war criminals are gradually captured and brought before the Tribunal, the viewer is left with the feeling that in the hands of Carla and her team justice is being administered – with more yet to come.

A fine musical score by Michel Wintsch sets the mood well, ranging from the irresolvable pain of the memory of the deaths of family members, to a tremendous build up of activity as Carla and her team grind the wheels of politics closer to the fruition of their mandate.

The image of Croatian General Ante Gotovina – one of the names found in Carla's list – captured unceremoniously in Spain while having dinner, mirrors a belief that with unrelenting persistence, any criminal remaining free (such as Serbian politician Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, Chief of Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army), will inevitably suffer a similar undignified ending to careers founded on demoralizing evil.

Carla's appointment as prosecutor ends in September 2007, but Carla's List shows that the remaining fugitives should feel uneasy in their new guises.

Carla's List has French and English dialogue, and English subtitles. It will be screened at the 11th Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London on Tuesday 27th March 18.30 at Gate Cinema, 87 Notting Hill Gate www.picturehouses.co.uk and on Wednesday 28th March 18.30 at ICA The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH www.ica.org.uk

For more information about the film festival contact: tel: 02089798628 email: londonff at hrw dot org.

© Rosemary Westwell

Carla's List / La Liste de Carla (2006). Dir. / Scr.: Marcel Schüpbach

Arts Critic Rosemary Westwell has written for several publications, including “The Independent” and “Musical Opinion.”

'Carla's List' Michael Schüpbach © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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1 Comment to 'Carla's List' Michael Schüpbach

  1. sydney

    Thanks for the review. I was thinking of Netflixing the film but I image it won't be available there for some time. Thanks!