MOVIE TIPS


Behind Words

Director: John Burgan, Germany 2005, 90 min.

Do wars really end when the fighting stops? From a bunker in Berlin, through former Yugoslavia, still-divided Cyprus, cities that change names, populations and countries without moving an inch: forced migration and ethnic cleansing has marked the 20th century like no other. In Europe alone, between 80 and 100 million were driven from their homes - or worse - in the last century. How to deal with all of this collective past? Historians quibble amongst themselves and politicians conduct a dialogue of the deaf. Behind Words encounters refugees and artists across Europe searching for the difficult way between memory and forgetting. The film is made by Network Migration in Europe and Hanfgarn & Ufer Film Production.

Grabavica: The Land of My Dreams

Director: Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnia 2006, 95 min.

Single mother Esma lives with her 12-year-old daughter Sara in Sarajevo’s Grbavica neighborhood, where life is still being reconstructed after the 1990s Yugoslav wars.
Unable to make ends meet with the meager government aid she receives, Esma takes a job as a cocktail waitress in a nightclub. Working all night is difficult for Esma physically and it also forces her to reluctantly spend less time with her daughter. Still haunted by violent events in her past, Esma attends group therapy sessions at the local Women’s Center. In addition to relying on her best friend Sabina, Esma also finds a kindred spirit in Pelda, a compassionate male co-worker from the nightclub.
Feisty tomboy Sara begins to put soccer aside as she develops a close friendship with classmate Samir. The two sensitive young teenagers feel a strong bond because both lost their fathers in the war. But Samir is surprised to hear Sara doesn’t know the details of her father’s noble death. Sara’s father becomes an issue when she requires the certificate proving he died a shaheed, a holy war martyr, so that she can receive a discount for an upcoming school trip. Esma claims acquiring the certificate is difficult since his body has yet to be found. Meanwhile, Esma searches desperately to borrow money to pay for Sara’s trip.
Confused Sara becomes violently upset when some classmates tease her for not being on the list of martyrs’ children. Realizing her mother has paid full price for the school trip, Sara aggressively demands the truth. Esma breaks down and brutally explains how the girl was conceived through rape in a POW camp. As painful as their confrontation is, it is Esma’s first real step toward overcoming her deep trauma. Despite Sara’s hurt, there is still an opening for a renewed relationship between mother and daughter.

Welcome to Sarajevo

Director: Michael Winterbottom, United Kingdom 1997, 97 min.

Based on "Natasha's Story," the 1993 memoir of ITN correspondent Michael Nicholson. Director Michael Winterbottom has fashioned a remarkable film by taking the events in Nicholson's book and interweaving them with actual footage of the siege of Sarajevo. And he's couldn't have assembled a better cast; Stephen Dillaine and Woody Harrelson give the performances of their careers (thus far) as Henderson and Flynn, and they're ably supported by Kerry Fox, Marisa Tomei, Emira Nusevic, and a charismatic, pre-ER Goran Visnjic

No Man's Land

Director: Dannis Tanovic, Bosnia 2001, 98 min.

After various skirmishes, two wounded soldiers, one Bosnian and one Serb, confront each other in a trench in the no man's land between their lines. They wait for dark, trading insults and even finding some common ground; sometimes one has the gun, sometimes the other, sometimes both. Things get complicated when another wounded Bosnian comes to, but can't move because a bouncing mine is beneath him. The two men cooperate to wave white flags, their lines call the UN (whose high command tries not to help), an English reporter shows up, a French sergeant shows courage, and the three men in no man's land may or may not find a way to all get along.


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