Rosana Betancourt Ortiz
A reflection on my experience with the film Grbavica during the Film Forward visit to Puerto Rico:
Fortunately I was assigned to go see the screening of Grbavica by one of my professors. This movie was in a foreign language and a foreign country I am not familiar with. However I was able to empathize and understand all the universal aspects of the film. I was hypnotized with songs in the movie, the subtleness, the everyday struggles and minute details that compose the human experience, the loving and strong character of Esma, and the silence we humans keep.
Grbavica had something many other films on this topic lack. I loved the bravery and the fresh perspective of Jasmila Zbanic, to take a theme as horrible as war and transform it into a beautiful film that can serve as evidence of the tragic outcomes of war crimes. Yet leaving us with a calm peaceful contemplation on how to transcend the aftermath of this evil we call war.
Film Forward and The Puerto Rico Film Society provided me with the opportunity to be exposed to this type of film, which I admit is not my preferred genre. Still I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the screening and the intimate discussion we had afterward with the director about the process of developing the film; I felt I loved this woman… I even wanted to hug her.
Achieving this type of viewpoint on a work of art and especially in such a complex piece is not an easy task. It is painful to speak of problems that are close to us because we suffer too, only when we are able to transcend suffering is when we can focus on a solution, it’s a re-birth. The world is a beautiful place with beautiful people and we need to know this. We need to understand the influence we can have when we speak, when we express ourselves, when we make art.
The mainstream media is focused on a banal and destructive pessimism. Mass press leaves us with this horrible idea of the world. But the world is still beautiful. Like Esma we just have to look deeper into ourselves. We are similar to gods in the sense that we have the power to do awful things but even more satisfying we have the power to do greater goods: we can forgive, we can start over, we can dream, we can rebuild and we can live in harmony.
Grbavica took me on a deep journey inside myself. I could feel the blood flowing through my whole body; my heart was pounding and I could see it from watching my chest. I felt very connected to the characters. It helped me affirm my position, and perspective as a student artist. We are responsible authors of our destiny and how it affects others. This film left me with hope in humanity.
Thank you, Jasmila. I send you a cybernetic hug.