Friday, July 6, 2012

No. 3 of 120: Esma's Secret (2006)

 Grbavica: The land of my dreams 

One of the best movies about consequences of the Balkan conflict.  The storyline focuses on the life of a single mother and her teenage daughter in the Grbvica neighbourhood of Sarajevo. As the plot unfolds it becomes apparent that the mother Esma (played by Mirjana Karanovic) was raped by a Serbian soldier and became pregnant as a result. 

According to Mochmann and Larsen in their article “Children Born of War: The Life Course of Children Fathered by German Soldiers in Norway and Denmark During WWII—Some Empirical Results.” Historical Social Research/HistorischeSozialforschung (2008): 347–363, 361. 

 "How important it is to provide information to society concerning children born of sexual exploitation and abuse is clearly seen by the impact of the film “Grbvica”. The film produced in 2006 told the story of a relationship between a Bosnian woman who had been raped by a Serbian soldier during the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and gave birth to a daughter. This film created a shock in society and raised the awareness of the topic in society. A positive consequence of the movie was that rape victims were acknowledged as victims of war and do now receive a small pension." 

Written and directed by Jasmila Zbanic, the film is definitely worth watching.  It it also an example of how popular culture and film in particular can be used to influence the law. The film is also interesting in its depiction of post-traumatic stress.  Esma suffers from trauma and re-lives the experience of her sexual assault in certain scenes.  Through the film the director speaks of crimes which are both 'unspeakable' and 'undiscussable' to use to terminology of Serbian sociologist, Janja Bec.  However, under pressure from her daughter who wishes to go on a school trip, Esma and the film finally break the silence surrounding her trauma.  

No comments:

Post a Comment