Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
BHFF ’13: Children of Sarajevo
is not conducive to stronger family values.
It is not great for the economy either.
One Bosnian woman will struggle with both aspects of the war’s trying aftermath
in Aida Begić’s Children of Sarajevo (trailer here), which opens the
2013 Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival in New York tonight at the Tribeca
and her younger brother Nehim are war orphans.
Although they spent the better part of the war in separate orphanages,
she has temporarily assumed custody.
However, busy-body social workers constantly torment her with their
condescending intrusions. Working
semi-off the books in the kitchen of a mobbed-up restaurant, she is in a
difficult position, made more difficult by Nehim’s behavioral issues. Things only get worse when he gets into a
fight with a politician’s son.
clearly establishes exactly how Rahima’s tribulations are fundamental rooted in
the recent war, without ever belaboring her points. Slowly, we learn only Nehim started acting
out in response to the mockery he faced at school when she began wearing the
headscarf that she adopted as a source of solace. Similarly, we gradually come
to understand the severity of Rahima’s post-traumatic stress as she goes about
her daily routine.
is the correct word. Children is a quiet, intimately observed
drama that fully captures the monotony of Rahima’s struggle. We revisit the same stretch of her decaying
urban environment, time and again. This
might peel off some antsier viewers, but Begić fully captures the realities of
life for marginalized survivors like Rahima.
Rahima, Marija Pikić subtly conveys multitudes of anger and desperation, often
relying solely on body language or a fleeting glance. When late in the third act when Rahima privately
removes her headscarf, viewers will realize the truly chameleon-like nature of
the striking Pikić’s performance. Ismar
Gagula certainly makes a convincingly petulant teenager, but Nikola Đuričko
leaves a more lasting impression as Tarik, Rahima’s would be suitor of
Periodically, Begić eerily incorporates archival
footage of the Siege of Sarajevo, underscoring the lingering influence of the
war. Implying much, she relies on
viewers to fill in considerable gaps, yet she methodically leads us into some
very dark places. Although Children unquestionably qualifies as “art
cinema,” it showcases some powerful work from Pikić and Begić. Recommended for adult attention spans, Children of Sarajevo screens as the
feature part of Program 1, launching
the 2013 BHFF tonight (5/9) in New York.
Labels: BHFF '13, Bosnian-Herzegovinian Cinema