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Dutch war drama inspired The Last of Us

The fall of Srebrenica, in which the Netherlands played a controversial role, served as the inspiration for the sixth episode of the acclaimed HBO Max series. Director Jasmila Žbanić experienced the war drama from the front row. “I immediately felt a lot of similarities The last of us what I lived with in the war.”

This article contains spoilers for episode 6 of The last of us!

faithful readers of Manners know who Jasmila Žbanić is. With partly Dutch film Where are you going, Aida? the Bosnian filmmaker was highly regarded and even earned an Oscar nomination. His other films are also mainly about the Yugoslav civil war and its impact on ordinary, peace-loving citizens.

How do the victims of a drama resume the thread of life after experiencing the most terrible events? Armed with her own experiences from Srebrenica and Sarajevo, Žbanić attempts to answer that question in the sixth episode of The last of us to answer. “Even in the worst circumstances, people find a way to make a society.”

Srebrenica in The Last of Us

In the sixth episode of the HBO Max series, we arrive in Jackson, a rebuilt Wyoming town where Joel’s long-lost brother now resides. Despite a deadly zombie pandemic in which no one has been spared inhuman suffering, Tommy and his fellow townspeople have managed to build a thriving mini-society. And there lies above all an important message: that of hope.

In indiewire told Jasmila Žbanić, director of the sixth episode of The last of usthat his portrayal of the fictional Jackson was inspired, among other things, by the 1995 Srebrenica war drama in which 8,000 people were murdered in cold blood.

“I think life goes on. Even in the worst circumstances, people will find a way to make a partnership. A particularly successful society is a society based on solidarity,” said Žbanić. “I witnessed it. During the war I felt that people were much nicer to each other. They didn’t care about the materialistic things that we care about now. We were all the same, because we had nothing. There are different ways to organize society, but this one turned out to be successful. So I was very happy to play Jackson this way, because he gives hope.”

hope in the movies

And that’s why he left nothing to chance. From the smallest roles to the most forgettable faces of the extras – everything and everyone was handpicked by Žbanić.

the last of us, hbo max, bioscoop
hope in the movies (Image: HBO MAX)

“I love the extras and the faces of the extras. In my previous film, and in this episode of The last of us, I was really sorting the faces by hand because I think that creates this sense of partnership. Every corner, every table, every person has really been thought of. We talk a lot about how these people eat, how they grow their own food, how they cook together. One part is there to protect, the other to make food, make clothes and repair shoes,” said the Bosnian filmmaker about the sixth part of the HBO Max hit.

“It was also very important to us that they have a cinema. Even during the war in Sarajevo, where we had nothing, there was a film Festival. As a human being you cannot live without dignity. That is why it was important to me that they find a way to live a dignified life.”

It’s also notable that Jasmila Žbanić hadn’t even heard of the original game when HBO Max contacted her about filming the sixth episode. But she immediately rang a bell when she looked at the script. “Sarajevo was like Jackson in a way, surrounded by enemies. The people there had to get on with their lives somehow, find a way to produce electricity and food. All of that made me very attached to Jackson. I didn’t know the game before I started it, but after watching it, after researching everything, I was like, ‘Oh, I know Jackson so well.'”

More on the success of HBO Max

I can’t get enough of any The last of us? Also read why the queer story in the HBO Max series wasn’t just fantastic. Or what drastic change to the original brought social media to tears. Check out the trailer for the upcoming episode below.

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Dutch war drama inspired The Last of Us

Ritika Prasher

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