Movie About Wartime Rape in Bosnia Well-received in Sarajevo
Monday, March 6, 2006 11:45 AM

Grbavica, Jasmila Zbanic's taboo-breaking movie featuring a Bosniak woman raped by a Serb soldier, received a standing ovation from five thousand viewers after premiering on March 1st in Sarajevo's Zetra Olympic Hall.  The movie broaches what is perhaps one of the former Yugoslavia's most pervasive social taboos in a way that de-emphasizes its political aspects and instead focuses on the human needs of love, recognition, and forgiveness.  Esma, the central character of the movie, is a Bosniak woman raped by a Serb solider in a prison camp during the Bosnian War, as part of the widespread tactic of using rape as a strategy of war to humiliate enemies.  Esma bears a daughter, Sara, as a result of the rape and both women are consequently cast out of the family due to the social stigma surrounding rape.  The movie was shot in Sarajevo with the support of partners in Austria, Germany, and Croatia.  Despite the positive reception in Sarajevo, the film's premiere in Banja Luka, the main city in Bosnia's Serb-dominated region, has been cancelled due to controversy, while its Belgrade screening is still scheduled to take place.  Grbavica was also this year's Golden Bear prize winner, the first prize of the Berlin Film Festival.

Compiled from:  "Sarajevans Acclaim First Film About Rape Victims", Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, 3 March 2006.