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Grbavica on IMDb
Years after the near total destruction of Sarajevo in the 1990s, life in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina goes on. But for some, like the survivor at the center of Bosnian director Jasmila Zabnic's shattering debut feature, there's no escaping the ghosts of a violent past. Esma Halilovic is trying to make the best of a hard life in a city still deeply scarred by years of shelling, atrocity and traumatic displays of grotesque inhumanity. In another life, Esma was a university student who planned on becoming a doctor; now she's lucky to find any work at all. Esma takes a job as a cocktail waitress at a raucous Sarajevo nightclub, but only after lying to her shady boss about the existence of her daughter Sara, an increasingly out-of-control 12-year-old. Bolstered by a beautifully shaded performance by Karanovic as a woman attempting to escape the torments of her past while securing a future for her daughter, Zbanic's film begs a pretty complex question: Is a love story possible in the aftermath of torture and genocide?