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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
I was fortunate enough to see this wonderful film at the Melbourne International Film Festival where it seemed to receive a positive reaction from the large audience.
Jasmila Zbanic has written and directed a film that is powerful enough to speak to a global audience. Even as a twenty-something Australian male, I was able to relate to the struggle of a middle-aged Bosnian woman because of the strength of Zbanic's storytelling and the superb acting.
I was particularly astonished by Mirjana Karanovic's performance and would be thrilled to see her acknowledged at Oscar time next year. She captured Esma's internal conflicts perfectly and brought many audience members to tears. Luna Mijovic was also very good as Sara, shifting with ease between adolescent rage and childlike vulnerability.
Zbanic should be applauded for crafting a film that reminds us that the wounds of war leave deep scars. While Zbanic's script may not be "perfect", the humanity of her message is strong enough to leave us feeling grateful for the gift of love. At a time when the global political climate is in such tumult, films like this remind us to appreciate the loving relationships we have, despite the baggage they may come with.
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