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Esma's Secret [DVD]

Mirjana Karanovic    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Mirjana Karanovic
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • DVD Release Date: 16 April 2007
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,961 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Award-winning debut feature from Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic. Single mother Esma (Mirjana Karanovic) lives with her 12-year-old daughter Sara (Luna Mijovic) in Sarajevo's Grbavica neighborhood, where life is still being reconstructed following the 1990s Yugoslav wars. Unable to make ends meet with the meagre government aid she receives, Esma takes a job as a cocktail waitress in a nightclub. Despite her lack of funds, when her feisty tomboy daughter needs money to go on a school trip, Esma tries to find a way to pay the full price - despite the fact that a certificate proving Sara's father was a war hero would allow her a discount. The film won the Golden Bear at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival, the Grand Jury Award International Picture at the AFI Festival, and was included for Official Selection at the London Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Esma's Secret 15 Sep 2010
By David Rowland TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What happened within Yugoslavia during the Tito years was little known in the West because he had such a powerful control over the media so consequently the West was largely unaware of the simmering internal divisions, regional rivalries and religious hatreds that were held in check only because his control was so complete. The West admired the independent way Tito operated and that, unlike in other communist countries, he refused to allow Yugoslavia to become a puppet of the Soviet Union.

After Tito died nobody with the same ability to exert control over Yugoslavia emerged so the relationships between the multitude of different groups in Yugoslavia worsened and this finally lead to war involving Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo which took on an increasingly brutal form involving the massacre of civilians, mass rapes and ethnic cleansing and the intervention of the West proved largely ineffective and often seemed to make matters worse until a ceasefire was finally achieved with the intervention of the Americans.

Esma was one of the numerous civilian victims of the war and after the guns fell silent she struggled to bring up her teenage daughter in Sarajevo and the film slowly reveals the nature of the secret that haunted her which she was so determined to keep from her daughter. Their loving relationship is beautifully told and when Esma's secret emerges it has a traumatic effect on both of them and threatens to destroy what they had. The film is a thoughtful, moving, sensitive and engrossing study of what war does to innocent people who get caught in the crossfire and the legacy it leaves in the minds of those who survive. The acting is superb and the issues the film examines stay long in the memory long after the final scenes are over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film 26 Aug 2009
I watched this film before going to Sarajevo and staying in Grbavica. It has a very authentic feel in its portrayal of some of the outcomes of the conflict there, and the two main female characters are excellent - the mother in how she conveyed pain, love and desperation in such a restrained way, and the daughter in being such a believable teenager within this context! I liked how it focused upon the female experience of post-conflict 'ordinary' life, whilst being informative about the history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great movie 28 May 2010
This is a trully super film! The acting is good and the storyline is very involving! I travel to Sarajevo frequently and loved seeing the city in a film. It is subtitled in english. Well worth watching. A very moving account of a woman and her daughter! 5 stars!!!
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