Single mother Esma lives with her 12-year-old daughter Sara in Sarajevo’s
Grbavica neighborhood, where life is still being reconstructed after the
1990s Yugoslav wars.
Unable to make ends meet with the meager government aid she receives,
Esma takes a job as a cocktail waitress in a nightclub. Working all night
is difficult for Esma physically and it also forces her to reluctantly
spend less time with her daughter. Still haunted by violent events in
her past, Esma attends group therapy sessions at the local Women’s
Center. In addition to relying on her best friend Sabina, Esma also finds
a kindred spirit in Pelda, a compassionate male co-worker from the nightclub.
tomboy Sara begins to put soccer aside as she develops a close
friendship with classmate Samir. The two sensitive young teenagers
feel a strong bond because both lost their fathers in the war.
But Samir is surprised to hear Sara doesn’t know the details
of her father’s noble death.
Sara’s father becomes an issue when she requires the certificate
proving he died a shaheed, a war martyr, so that she can
receive a discount for an upcoming school trip. Esma claims acquiring
the certificate is difficult since his body has yet to be found.
Meanwhile, Esma searches desperately to borrow money to pay for
Confused Sara becomes violently upset when some classmates tease
her for not being on the list of martyrs’ children. Realizing
her mother has paid full price for the school trip, Sara aggressively
demands the truth. Esma breaks down and brutally explains how
the girl was conceived through rape in a POW camp. As painful
as their confrontation is, it is Esma’s first real step
toward overcoming her deep trauma. Despite Sara’s hurt,
there is still an opening for a renewed relationship between mother
Duration: 90 min
Format: 35 mm
Original language: Bosnian
Year of production: 2005
Origin of production:: A / BIH/ D / CRO
( Austria / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Germany / Croatia)
World sales: The Match Factory, www.the-match-factory.com
World Premiere: 2006 Berlinale