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Monday, June 03, 2013

SIFF Sighting: CHILDREN OF SARAJEVO (drama; Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Rahima (Marija Pikic) is a young, hard-working cook in Sarajevo. She and her brother Nedim (Ismir Gagula) were orphaned during the war and now she is responsible for taking care of him. He doesn't make it easy on her.

Though there is evidence of him being bullied, Nedim doesn't handle matters well, frequently engaging in bloody fights and getting reprimanded at school.

He blames Rahima's recent need to wear a headscarf as the reason for his troubles; she has frequent flashbacks to the war, which he is too young to remember, that fuel her faith.

The documentary footage of the actual war, spliced in as her memories, are especially powerful contrasted with the sounds of celebratory fireworks, which remind her of the grenades and sounds of war. Though the city has recovered, there are scars that will never heal.

Though undeniably bleak, there is hope in this story. Hope that comes from the love of a dutiful sister; hope that comes from the kind neighbors who befriend them and in Rahima's fierce independence.

It's just one more film that forbids us from forgetting the past--and that's a good thing.

CHILDREN OF SARAJEVO screened at the 39th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.

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