The first Bosnian film to win the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival’s International Critics Week focuses on six women living in a small village one year after the war has ended. All of the men (including male children) have been rounded up and killed by the Serbian army. The surviving women work hard to keep the village’s only industry, jam and sauerkraut production operational. It’s grueling work to create a delicate product that the women then transport in handcarts through rough mountainous paths to sell on the roadside. We see the women raise the orphaned children left behind all the while trying to keep each other’s spirits up with games and craft projects but the fact remains, the only commonality they have is that their former middle classic lives have been transformed by tragedy. Each of them still holds out secret hope their husbands, sons and fathers somehow survived and will someday return. When two Serbian businessmen representing a commercial real estate developer show up with an offer to buy their land each woman is forced to re-examine the reality of her situation and what her priorities moving forward will be.
Like many of the wonderful documentaries from this area (some of which my company, A Million Movies a Min ute distributes), the film contrasts of the breathtaking beauty of this area with the horrendous things its people have endured. At the start, the somewhat self-conscious diversity of the group threatens to be something akin to a Slavic United Colors of Benneton ad: a Muslim, a Christian, a bawdy dame, a thrill-seeking younger woman, an elderly woman who spends her time working the loom and a demanding, bed-ridden mother-in-law. But director Aida Begić let’s their stories unfold naturally. The film never condescends to think an audience will understand their situation by the end of the film.
1.55GB | 1h 39mn | 1009×568 | mkv