Frontline (PBS, 9-10:30 p.m.): At the beginning of the program we see a man and woman in their twenties lying on the ground, arms entwined. ``Shot and killed in Sarajevo,'' says Dan Rather in a voiceover from a news broadcast of a year ago.
If TV newswatchers recall the incident at all, that image is probably the extent of their memory. Bosko Brckic and Admira Zaritsky came about as close as a modern couple could to reliving ``Romeo and Juliet'' - a title the world press gave them when the facts emerged.
He was a Serb, she a Muslim. Despite the centuries-old Balkan conflict, they had fallen in love - in Sarajevo in 1984, at the time the city was hosting the Olympics. It was the first time in about 600 years anyone in his family had had a romance with a Muslim. In the face of the current war in Sarajevo, they were planning to be married and have a future together. On May 19, 1993, they were killed by sniper fire in the hills.
``Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo'' researches the haunting storybook facts behind the ill-fated love affair, which grew in the face of this terrible conflict. The documented facts - as the cliche goes -
are far too suspenseful, tragic, and touching to have been scripted. News clips underscore the fearful contrast between Olympic Sarajevo and the war that followed. The show uses interviews, news footage, stills, letters, and other material to create a compelling personal journal that turns the generic horror of Sarajevo into a powerful human drama.
A friend recalls how unusual the girl was: ``She liked to drive motorcycles and knew how to fix cars very well.'' We learn the boy was quiet but liked to play jokes on friends - ``in a nice way.'' Reminiscences by parents and others paint a vivid picture of the family backgrounds.
As their love affair progressed, the couple's relationship drew their two families close together even while their respective sides clashed in battle. The couple planned a dangerous, almost-successful escape from the city. The fateful conclusion typifies the dramatic nature of this documentary.
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