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Grbavica: the Land of My Dreams
Grbavica the Land of My Dreams
Actor: Grbavica: the Land of My Dreams
Director: Jasmila Zbanic
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2007     1hr 30min

Studio: Strand Releasing Release Date: 06/12/2007


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Movie Details

Actor: Grbavica: the Land of My Dreams
Director: Jasmila Zbanic
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life
Studio: Strand Releasing
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/12/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Croatian
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Living With The Past
S. B. Anderson | USA | 01/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Bosnian war, though recent, has been almost forgotten due to rapidly unfolding conflicts in the Middle East. This fact does not diminish the severity of the Bosnian conflict, nor does it diminish the scars this conflict left on the population of this small Balkan country.

Grbavica is a quarter of the Bosnian capital, close to pretty much everything. During the war in Bosnia, Grbavica was occupied by the Serb irregulars, from which they shelled the surrounding quarters of Hrasno, Trg Pere Kosorica, Pofalici and others. Immediately after the peace agreement, the irregulars withdrew, leaving behind destruction in the lives of those they occupied.

Mirjana Karanovic presents a brilliant performance as a single mother trying to survive in Sarajevo's almost bankrupt economy by working impossible hours in a shoe factory during the day, and in a bar during the night. Widowed because of the war, she receives support from the government, which is enough to pay for a few groceries. Karanovic is content to continue caring for her daughter, and asks for nothing but peace and quiet.

As Karanovic's character's daughter comes into her teenage years, questions about her father, a shaheed (literally translated shaheed means "witness", but is a title given to a fallen fighter), questions which Karanovic is not prepared (and not able) to answer. As the story unfolds, it not only becomes a story of survival in a meagre economy, but that of emotional survival of the past, and the survival of the future that past may bring. It is now that we are shown the true struggle - the one within, the one dealing with shame and guilt and regret.

An excellent movie, as far as small budget movies go, "Grbavica..." is a well told story that could describe anyone in Bosnia. Very hard to relate to, Sarajevan life is defined by the war, and everything is measured by the war. In order to better understand the sentiments of the film, one would need to have at least the basic understanding of the conflict in the Balkans. Highly recommended to all not seeking a Hollywoodized account, as the "Land of My Dreams" part of the title refers to the inherent hope that is the only driving force in such horrifying circumstances."
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 12/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams" is a film that opened in Chicago near the beginning of the year. It didn't last in theaters very long and judging by the amount of reviews written here on amazon, no one would seem to care. How sad. Here is an emotional, yet devoid of being overly sentimental, well-written, well acted film by a young director making her feature film debut, Jasmila Zbanic.

The time is right after the ethnic cleansing of the former Yugoslavia. A single mother, Esma (Mirjana Karanovic) lives with her 12 year old daughter, Sara (Luna Mijovic) who is a bit of a trouble-maker. She has strong tom-boy qualities to her. Their relationship is strained. They have moments when they get along, but the viewer can tell there are secrets between the two which create some friction and keeps them at a certain distance.

Sara has grown up believing her father was a shaheed, a war martyr, who died for Bosnia. When her class is about to go on a school trip, children of shaheed's will get a discount rate. Esma must show proof that her husband died, even though the body has yet to be discovered.

We rarely hear Esma talk about Sara's father, despite Sara's eagerness to hear about him. When Sara tries to bring up the past Esma quickly attempts to change the subject.

At the heart of "Grbavica" is a story about the past, finding one's roots and the effects war has not only on the land, but the psychological effects it has.

Another film from Eastern Europe came out some time after this film from Romania entitled "12:08 East of Bucharest", it too is one of the year's best films, which no one has seen. It seems the mood in Eastern European cinema is to take us back to the past. I suppose enough time has past where people can now look at certain tramatic events; the Romanian revolution, the Bosnian war, and attempt to put things into a certain perspective.

"Grbavica" is not a flashy film. It seems to have been shot with lower quality camera equipment. But, that is besides the point. The film carries an emotional truth rarely seen in films, regardless of country of origin. No grand gestures or cheap cinematic devices are used in the film to stir our emotions. The film plays everything straight. We seems to be getting a small glimpse at this family trying to survive. That is a lot easier said than done. How many films can make everyday events interesting?

The film has gone on to win several film festival nominations and awards. It won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated at Sundance. I hope director Jasmila Zbanic is able to make several films in the future. Even though the audience for this film has been small, I think it is one of the year's best.

Bottom-line: Effective film dealing with the past, one's roots and the aftermath of war. Well acted, and written. Strong emotions but not overly sentimental. One of the year's best.

Kirk Alex | 09/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Deftly handled theme that just might move certain viewers to tears.
Needed to be told.
The mindless war in and around Sarajevo accomplished but one thing: scarred a nation
and left its survivors to do their best to heal the wounds and live life to the best of their

Terrific cast, writing and direction. Important films like this must be made by Indies--any way that they can scrounge up the financing--because Hollywood simply fails more often than not.

And as far as charismatic Luna Mijovic is concerned...I just hope she wins the Oscar one day!
Loved the young woman's work in this unforgettable motion picture."
Mother and Daughter in Post-War Sarajevo: Emotional and Grip
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 02/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The story of "Grbavica" follows a single mother Esma (Mirjana Karanovic) and her 12-year-old daughter Sara (Luna Mijovic) living quietly in the post-war Sarajevo. (The film's title "Grbavica" refers to a district of the city of Sarajevo.)

Sara is looking forward to joining in a school trip. She knows the children of Shaheed or war martyr do not have to pay, but they need to turn in a certificate to the school beforehand. Remembering that her mother said her dead father was a Shaheed, Sara asks Esma to give her a certificate, but Esma would rather pay full price, and keeps working hard at seedy night club....

Set in today's Sarajevo, "Grbavica" is an arresting love story of mother and daughter. (In her message to Iwanami Hall in Japan where the film was shown, director Jasmila Zbanic said the film is about love.) But besides the loving (and vulnerable) relations between mother and daughter, the film is also about the war and its aftermath, and Mirjana Karanovic's superb acting as Esma with a secret effectively tells the tragic story of war without being preachy.

"Grbavica" has also sub-plots about Esma and Pelda (Leon Lucev), mysterious bouncer hired by the club where Esma works, and about strong-minded Sara and her boyfriend. These supporting characters are largely credible with excellent performances even though several episodes should have been left in the cutting room, such as characters carrying a loaded handgun.

The simple and emotional story, I think, needs more time to be told especially in the wrap-up. Maybe Sara wanted to say something more to her mother, but perhaps it should be left unsaid. Whatever it is, it is told beautifully in her last action that is moving and touching, just like the film itself."