Magazine article Screen International

Children of Sarajevo

Magazine article Screen International

Children of Sarajevo

Article excerpt

Dir/scr: Aida Begic. Bosnia Herzogovina-Germany-France-Turkey. 2012. 90mins

Aida Begic's Children Of Sarajevo (Djeca) is a passionately stark story of the strength of family, driven by an intense sense of honour and compassion as a young woman who has found strength in her religion tries to help her younger brother, who had previously lived in an orphanage.

Marija Pikic is striking as the haunted Rahima.

Prior to her first Cannes screening of the film she said to the audience that it was a shame she was "unable to bring a happier film to Cannes", and while that may be then case, the drive of the film is the inner strength and determination that sees 23 year-old Rahima (an excellent Marija Pikic) doing all she can - and against all the odds - try and keep what remains of her family together.

Rahima and her 14 year-old brother Nedim (Ismir Gagula) live a low-key life in a simple flat in Sarajevo. After crime-prone adolescent years - which are implied but never really developed in the film - Rahima has found solace in Islam, and hopes that her brother will follow her example and find a better life.

She works in the kitchen of a Sarajevo restaurant, retaining a polite and non-confrontational presence, but finds things slowly spiralling out of control when she is called to Nedim's school after he gets into a fight with the son of a prominent government official, and then she finds he is helping courier a gun and documents.

The incident leads her to find out that her brother is dabbling on the edge of criminal activities, but she is determined that he should try and escape that life. …

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