Beginning of the 90s: The Yugoslavian Wars had started. Young men from all over Europe were taking part. On January 7th 1992, a Swiss journalist was found dead in Croatia wearing the uniform of an international mercenary group.
Twenty years later, his cousin, the director Anja Kofmel, researches the background to understand, why these men are so fascinated by war.
The murder of my cousin Chris was a decisive experience during my childhood. When he died, I was 10 years old. I had always looked up to him, admired him for his travels, adventures and his free spirit. I wanted to be just like him. Back then there was a name that was mentioned times and again in our family: EDUARDO FLORES aka CHICO. He was the founder of a group of mercenaries called PIV that my cousin had joined. Fellow journalists were convinced that Chris had gone undercover to investigate the mafia-like structures of the PIV and their links to the ultra-Catholic organization Opus Dei. They thought that Chris was killed by his combatants because he got too close to the truth. Switzerland’s officials didn’t regard Chris as a journalist though, but declared him a mercenary killed in action. His case has neither been investigated nor solved. By the time I had reached the same age as Chris when he had died, the story hit me again. In 2009, “Chico” was shot dead in Bolivia during an attempted assassination of president Evo Morales. This was the key-moment that led me to decide to turn Chris’ story into a film. I decided to mix animation and documentary in order to cope with the complex subject. I’m capturing my research and my encounters with contemporary witnesses by the means of classical documentary, whereas the animation allows me to interpret the story and bring the cruelty and despair of war to life in a subjective way. More than 20 years later, I let Chris’ notes guide me on my search for tracks of his last days in life. My inquiries lead me to various witnesses of the past, former colleagues from his work, both journalists as well as foreign fighters. My cousin’s story leads me into an eerie world dominated by men who stir up hatred and intimidate the civilization to reach their power-driven goals. It shows me how fragile the structures of our society are, how little it takes to corrode a peaceful cohabitation – not only in former Yugoslavia but anywhere in the world.