GRBAVICA removes the veil from the ultimate taboo of the war in Balkans: the use of rape as the weapon of war.
In her stunning debut feature, writer/director Jasmila Žbanic explores the painful long-term effects of war on a Bosnian woman and her daughter. Esma is a single mother who lives with her 12-year old daughter, Sara, in the Grbavica district of Sarajevo, a neighborhood once used as an internment camp during the Yugoslav wars. Unable to get by on government aid, Esma works two jobs to make ends meet. When Sara wants to go on a school trip, questions arise about her father, who is supposed to have died as a war martyr. Gradually, Sara comes to realize that her mother has never told her the truth about the war years, and the truth threatens to tear them apart.
GRBAVICA removes the veil from the ultimate taboo of the war in Balkans: the use of rape as the weapon of war. However, it also reveals that the post-war denial of this war crime is as devastating as the crime itself. Esma is haunted by the shadows of the war-time rape that she has suffered, but is even more affected by the post-war poverty, and the hypocrisy as the dominant social attitude. Yet she decides to resist her tribulations, and to carve her way out by relying on the love for her child, and the help of her friends. Jasmila Žbanic