Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams (Esma's Secret - Grbavica)
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Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams (Esma's Secret - Grbavica)
A woman sees her own traumatic past reflected in the actions of her teenage daughter in this drama from first-time writer and director Jasmila Zbanic. Esma (Mirjana Karanovic) is a single mother trying to raise her teenage daughter, Sara (Luna Mijovic), in Sarajevo in the wake of war. While Esma works as a barmaid at a nightclub run by Saran (Bogdan Diklic), a man on the wrong side of the law, she has trouble making ends meet, and receives occasional benefits payments from a support group for women who have been affected by the war. Esma has little interest in talking about the loss of her… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Grbavica increases in power as it progresses. It's a movie about the ways in which people yearn for healing and about the many obstacles that work to prevent it."
‑ Robert Denerstein, Denver Rocky Mountain News
"The portrayal of a wounded society is compelling, and the film ends on a very modestly hopeful note, appropriate for a country where the 'dreams' have been mostly painful."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"This is a slice of Bosnian life, a powerful peek at average people trying to live their average lives despite the extraordinary and unthinkable things that lie in their past."
‑ Winda Benedetti, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Zbanic telegraphs parts of the drama a little too easily, but she draws heartbreaking performances from Karanovic and Mijovic."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
"...a little powerhouse of a movie whose slow gentle build reaches quite a stunning conclusion."
‑ Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"Like its music, the film's emotions proceed from lament to screaming screed to chorus of hope."
‑ Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
"The admirable feminist agenda occasionally trips up the narrative, but the film's performances keep it on track."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"Lovely in its understatement, quietly but insistently demanding that Esma's story, and those of too many other women, finally be told."
‑ Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly
"The kind of well-meaning film that actually gives well-meaning films a good name."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"The aftermath of the Bosnian civil war is a rich vein of storytelling material and newcomer writer/director Zbanic mines it well."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"While Grbavica concerns a legacy of hatred, it's also optimistic about Bosnia's physical and emotional reconstruction. If the film's final image doesn't move you, you'd better check your pulse."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"[Director] Zbanic makes the awful seem commonplace and vice versa, while adding ominous shadows to Esma's untold backstory. The war might be over, but fear and hope remain locked in a rapturous stranglehold amidst the rubble."
‑ Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
"There's really nothing new about the way Grbavica looks at the mother-daughter dynamic. But it's still refreshing to see any film that does so with such honesty and realism."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"Jasmila Zbanic also deserves our admiration for casting Karanovic, and for making a film of great power about the fate of that ultimate contradiction -- a child born out of hatred."
‑ Beverly Berning,
"A poignant and emotionally gripping story of a Bosnian single parent struggling to survive in Sarajevo and carrying deep physical and spiritual wounds from the 1990s wars."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice