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28 Jun

GRBAVICA HIDES ESMA’S SECRET

Dear guests in this post we bring you the story of the incredible movie ,,Grbavica” that tells the story of a raped woman from Sarajevo during the siege ’92.-’95.

The name of the movie refers to Grbavica a neighborhood of Sarajevo where Esma – the main protagonist lives and Grbavica was one of the most traumatized neighborhoods in the city.

According to the director, Jasmila Žbanić

“…in 1992 everything changed and I realized that I was living in a war in which sex was used as part of a war strategy to humiliate women and thereby cause the destruction of an ethnic group. 20,000 women were systematically raped in Bosnia during the war.”

Esma is a single mom who lives with her 12-year-old daughter Sara in post-war Sarajevo in the neighborhood of Grbavica. The part of the city known as Grbavica was very war torn during the siege and was a front line where the people living in Grbavica survived atrocities and horrors as well as witnessing the worst side of the war. Sara wants to go on a school field trip and her mother starts working as a waitress at nightclub to earn the money for the trip. The story focuses on the neighborhood and life of the family in Grbavica. Sara’s has a best friend Samir, who, like Sara, has no father. Both of their fathers allegedly died as war heroes. Samir is surprised to find out that Sara does not know the circumstances of her father’s death. His own father was massacred by Chetniks near Žuč when he refused to leave the trench he was defending. Whenever Sara and her mother discuss this delicate topic, Esma’s responses are always vague. The situation grows more complicated when students who can provide a certificate proving that they are the offspring of war heroes can go on the field trip for free. Esma explains to Sara that her father’s corpse was never found and that she has no certificate. She promises to try to obtain the document. Secretly, however, Esma attempts to borrow the money Sara needs from her friend Sabina, her aunt and her boss. Sara is haunted by a nagging feeling that something is not right. Shocked and bewildered when she discovers she is not mentioned as the child of a war hero on the list of pupils going on the school trip. At home, however, she confronts her mother and demands to know the truth. Esma breaks down and finally admits painfully that she was raped at prisoner’s camp and forced to have the child, Sara. All at once, Sara realizes she is the child of a Chetnik. And yet, this discovery also brings her closer to her mother and helps overcome her trauma. In the end, Sara leaves for the field trip, waving to her mother until the last moment. On the bus, the students sing a popular song about Sarajevo (“Land of My Dreams”), and Sara joins in.

Grbavica Awards

Grbavica Wins

  • Golden Bear – Best Film – 56th Berlin International Film Festival 2006
  • Peace Film Award – Berlin Film Festival 2006
  • Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Berlin Film Festival 2006
  • Kosomorama Award – Best Film
  • Reykjavik Film Festival – Best Film
  • AFI Film Festival – Narrative grand jury prize
  • Brussels European Film Festival – Prize TV Canvas for Best Film and Award Best Actress (to Mirjana Karanović)
  • Ourence Film Festival – Award Best Actress (to Mirjana Karanović)
  • Portland International Film Festival – Audience Award
  • Thessaloniki Film Festival – Woman & Equality Award
  • Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival in New York – Audience Award