Barbara ALBERT (coop99), Damir IBRAHIMOVIC (Debloka), Bruno WAGNER (coop99), Boris MICHALSKI (noir Film), Damir RIHTARIC (Jadran film)
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 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. Feisty 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 Sara’s trip. 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 and daughter.