Grbavica

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    Grbavica

    Directed by

    Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Croatia

    2005

    90 min

    • Bosnian

    Drama

    Single mother Esma lives with her 12-year-old daughter Sara in Sarajevo’s Grbavica neighborhood, where life is still being reconstructed after the 1990s Yugoslav wars. Unable to make ends meet with the meager government aid she receives, Esma takes a job as a cocktail waitress in a nightclub. Working all night is difficult for Esma physically and it also forces her to reluctantly spend less time with her daughter. Still haunted by violent events in her past, Esma attends group therapy sessions at the local Women’s Center. In addition to relying on her best friend Sabina, Esma also finds a kindred spirit in Pelda, a compassionate male co-worker from the nightclub. Feisty tomboy Sara begins to put soccer aside as she develops a close friendship with classmate Samir. The two sensitive young teenagers feel a strong bond because both lost their fathers in the war. But Samir is surprised to hear Sara doesn’t know the details of her father’s noble death. Sara’s father becomes an issue when she requires the certificate proving he died a shaheed, a war martyr, so that she can receive a discount for an upcoming school trip. Esma claims acquiring the certificate is difficult since his body has yet to be found. Meanwhile, Esma searches desperately to borrow money to pay for Sara’s trip. Confused Sara becomes violently upset when some classmates tease her for not being on the list of martyrs’ children. Realizing her mother has paid full price for the school trip, Sara aggressively demands the truth. Esma breaks down and brutally explains how the girl was conceived through rape in a POW camp. As painful as their confrontation is, it is Esma’s first real step toward overcoming her deep trauma. Despite Sara’s hurt, there is still an opening for a renewed relationship between mother and daughter.

    Credits

    Cast
    Mirjana Karanovic
    Luna Mijovic
    Leon Lucev
    Screenplay
    Jasmila Zbanic
    Cinematography
    Christine A. Maier
    Editing
    Niki Mossböck

    Director's Statement

    am fascinated by everyday life, but compared to war, it can seem ordinary, non-dramatic, evenbanal. Yet when the surface of this everyday life is scratched, the whole power of human emotions -- past, present and future -- starts to leak out. GRBAVICA is first of all a story about LOVE. About love that is not pure, because it has been mixed with hate, disgust, trauma, despair. It's also about VICTIMS who, though they did not com-mit any crime, they are still not entirely innocent in relation to future generations. GRBAVICA isalso about TRUTH, a cosmic power necessary to progress, and very much needed by society in Bosnia and Herzegovina who must strive to reach maturity.

    Production
    COOP99 FILMPRODUKTION
    Production
    DEBLOKADA
    Production
    NOIRFILM
    Production
    JADRAN FILM
    Production
    VENTURA FILM
    Jasmila  Žbanić

    Jasmila Žbanić

    Bosnia & Herzegovina

    I am successful if I manage to make a film that I want and if it works emotionally for the audience, and if it stays with them after the screening and means something for them.

    Jasmila Žbanić was born in Sarajevo in 1974. She is a graduate of the Sarajevo Academy of Dramatic Arts, Department of Theater and Film Directing. Her feature debut GRBAVICA was awarded the 2006 Berlinale Golden Bear, the American Film Institute Grand Jury Prize, and Grand Prix Odyssey of the European Council and was sold to 40 territories with great success. Jasmila’s second feature ON THE PATH premiered in the competition program of the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival and has won numerous awards including Fimkunstfestival Schwerin Award for Best Director, Golden Apricot of the International Film Festival in Yerevan – FIPRESCI Prize, and Golden Arena for Best Director of the 2010 Pula Film Festival. Jasmila’s third feature FOR THOSE WHO CAN TELL NO TALES made its world premier at the Toronto Film Festival and was awarded 2013 Femme de Cinema award at the European Les Arcs Film Festival. In 2004, Jasmila has won Kairos Prize awarded to the European artists whose work is found to have outstanding cultural and social impact. Her project QUO VADIS AIDA was selected for the Venice Gap-financing Market 2019.

    Selected Filmography