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Illustrating attempts by authorities to underline divisions between Serbs and Croats, Croatian authorities recently asked local TV stations and film distributors to put subtitles on all Serbian movies, although the two nations speak an almost identical language.

Dragojevic’s earlier film Rane (Wounds) was among the first to be subtitled in Croatia in the early 2000. The opening scene caused the audience to break into laughter: When the words “Jesen 1991” (Fall of 1991) appeared on the screen, the Croatian subtitle below it was identical: Jesen 1991.

Dragojevic said the success of his movie shows that common bonds of culture and history exist in the Balkans.

“That is bad news for nationalists,” he said.

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Dusan Stojanovic in Serbia, Aida Cerkez in Bosnia and Darko Bandic in Croatia contributed to this report.