Djeca (2012) Poster


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Divided City
corrosion-226 July 2012
Children of Sarajevo is a poignant picture of a city ravaged by war and where some of the old feuds and differences, particularly with regards to class and religion, still exist. Marija Pikic is entirely convincing in the role of Rahima, a young woman looking after her orphaned teenage brother and working long shifts as a assistant cook in a restaurant. She has put a distance between herself and her past by converting to Islam and wearing a veil. Some of her former friends and colleagues, and even her brother, have still not come to terms with her conversion. Rahima is a strong and independent character turning down the favors offered by the local grocer who's in love with her. When her brother breaks the expensive phone of minister's son, the issues of corruption, both moral and political, are also brought to the surface. Children of Sarajevo was fittingly selected to open the 18th Sarajevo Film Festival where Marija Pikic deservedly won the best actress prize. Interstingly, the director Aida Begic wears a veil herself and one wonders if there are any personal and autobiographical elements in the story depicted in the movie.
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Mixed feelings
ofratko24 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know but I was expecting more of the movie. It was very dreary and boring at times. It seemed that Rahmina had only one facial expression and no fun or joy in life. One guy almost at the end of the movie proposed to her and I still don't know whether she was happy about it or sad. I know she was orphan and the life in the post war country is hard but still. The only time I could see any emotion was when she found the gun in her brother's things. I don't think it was acting as the actress was really good. It was the script. Also she supposed to be religious and the only thing which showed that is the hijab on her head. I haven't seen her praying or going to mosque. I thought the religion can be source of strenght and peace but in this case it wasn't there. It was like watching documentary movie about orphans I've watched Halima's Path just shortly before this movie. Also from Bosnia and I can't say that this movie can compare with quality and plot.

Overally still interesting to watch. There is a sense of injustice and despair throughout the movie. The ending is little bit optimistic. I liked the flashbacks to the siege time and shortly after siege. It was important to see in the movie. For people who like Balkan movies it's still good watch.As one different reviewer wrote it's clear that 17 years after the end of the siege and the war Sarajevo and Bosnia is still bleeding...
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A Testament to Strength of Spirit
l_rawjalaurence12 January 2016
Set in post-Civil War Bosnia, DJECA (CHILDREN OF SARAJEVO) creates a dystopian world of perpetual darkness, dingy streets peopled with shady characters, anonymous concrete underpasses full of menace, and seedy clubs ruled by autocratic conpersons. The only way to survive, it seems, is by buying and selling things - mostly illegally.

Rahima (Marija Pikic) struggles to survive in this society by working long hours in a kitchen and using the proceeds to look after her brother Nedim (Ismir Gagula). The task is not an easy one, as her boss Melic (Velibor Topic) keeps asking her to work extra hours at very short notice. She becomes suspicious that Nedim is becoming involved in some criminal deals, and follows him one morning. She becomes embroiled in a complicated plot that ends up with Nedim being assaulted, and both she and her brother being arrested (wrongfully) for attacking Melic.

Aida Begic's film is quite difficult to watch, not least for the fact that her camera seldom moves away from the close-up. The action unfolds in a series of lengthy tracking shots, with the camera moving with the characters along the danger-laden streets of Sarajevo. We share their sense of foreboding as they have no idea of what might await them behind the next concealed corner.

The thriller aspect of the film is complicated by religion: Rahima has converted to Islam, a decision still not really accepted by her family, who believe that she has somehow rejected her upbringing. At one point we are asked to reflect on why she did it; was it a political decision? or was it simply an act of self-assertion? Director Begic offers no answers, although she does suggest that Rahima's conversion has helped her to deal with the trauma of the civil war that still haunts her mind.

The film opens and closes with an extract from Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony - an apt reminder of how some kind of stability can be forged, even in the most unprepossessing of situations. Rahima and Nadim end the film much closer to one another than they were at the beginning, as they realize that familial loyalties provide one form of protection against any form of corruption.
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