A harsh dose of cinematic realism about a harsh time-the Bosnian War of the 1990s-Juanita Wilson's drama is taken from true stories revealed during the International Criminal Tribunal in ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Samira (as Natasa Petrovic)
Fedja Stukan ...
The Captain
...
Jasmina
Sanja Buric ...
The Nurse
Irina Apelgren ...
Alisa
Zvezda Angelovska ...
Halida (as Zvezdana Angelovska)
Nikolina Kujaca ...
Mirsada
...
Doctor
Angela Stojanovska ...
Samira's Sister
Zoran Trajkovski ...
Samira's Father
Sofija Kunovska ...
Samira's Mother
Elpida Pakovska ...
Village Neighbour
Ivo Stojanovski ...
Village Neighbour's Husband
Filip Pesov ...
School Boy
Jana Mircevska ...
School Girl
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Storyline

A harsh dose of cinematic realism about a harsh time-the Bosnian War of the 1990s-Juanita Wilson's drama is taken from true stories revealed during the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Samira is a modern schoolteacher in Sarajevo who takes a job in a small country village just as the war is beginning to ramp up. When Serbian soldiers overrun the village, shoot the men and keep the women as laborers (the older ones) and sex objects (the younger ones), Samira is subjected to the basest form of treatment imaginable. Written by Palm Springs Internation Film Festival

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4 March 2011 (Ireland)  »

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Ireland's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 84th Academy Awards 2012. See more »

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Hard to stomach, but an undeniably well made and affecting film
30 September 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Samira (Natasa Petrovic) is a young teacher from Sarajevo who takes a teaching job in a small village as the Bosnian war hots up. One day, as she is taking her class, she finds everyone being rounded up by Serbian soldiers and, while she protests she is merely there to work, she nevertheless finds herself rounded up with the women. From this point on, she finds her dignity and human rights ripped to shreds, as she is subjected to the most degrading treatment imaginable as a sex object, but, to save herself and the other women, she finds the inner strength and resilience inside to rise up and be counted as a person.

It's a sad fact that sometimes the most affecting, heart wrenching stories involve being told the most unpleasant, disturbing ones, in order to feel their full impact. This is certainly the case with As If I Am Not There, which delves into the terrain of the Bosnian war in the early 90s. It's perversely fitting that it was not a widely seen film, because it holds little in the way of actual entertainment value...in fact, it's probably the furthest thing from entertaining you can imagine. In fact, sometimes you just feel like a sick person for watching it. But, as unflinching and terrible as some of the treatment is to watch, you have to see it in order to appreciate just what sort of hell went on.

But the strong acting and writing make it into a worth seeing film, even if it is one of the more disturbing ones you'll watch. ****


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