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Nancy Abdel Sakhi,
In order to recover the body of her son lost during the war in Bosnia, a grieving, but strong-willed Muslim woman, Halima, must track down her estranged niece, who we find carries a mysterious connection to him.
Set against the backdrop of a former Yugoslavia of the nineteen-nineties, this is a single mother's anguish of how one must deal with truths and how to cope with a war's terrible past. With a twelve year old daughter to bring-up, both mother and child come head-to-head when a school trip is in the air and complications and rude awakenings arise from the ashes' of the cold and callous days of conflict, xenophobia and its secrets. Written by
This film is about a woman who has to raise money for her daughter's school trip. Or she could produce a certificate to say that her daughter's father is a war hero, so that her daughter could go to the trip for free.
The film is down to earth and realistic. There are no grand sets, no expensive costumes and no fancy cars. Instead, we get to see a real side of life in Sarajevo. A bus ride, working in factories, picnic on the hilltop or women trying dresses on: all of these seemingly trivial matters reflect how people live. It brings out the soul of the characters, and we get to care for them.
The daughter, Sara's youthful rebellion is direct and raw. Her spectrum of emotions, from sadness to joy, on the final bus ride is remarkable. Esma's work in the night club is also memorable. Her shock and disgust with things that go on around her, and her self pity that she has to earn money like that is striking.
Esma's final confession in the group is touching and emotional. It crystallises anger, hate, despair, ambivalence and love into one. From the interaction between Esma and Sara throughout the film, who would have thought that Sara was in fact born in such circumstances?
This film is touching, not only because it exposes the scars of post war Bosnia, but also the everyday tragedies of the lower class.
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