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Bosnian Film Banned in Serb Areas for Political Reasons -- from U.S. for financial ones?

by Anthony Kaufman
April 14, 2006 4:46 AM
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"Eleven years after the war, war criminals still direct our daily lives." So writes Jasmila Zbanich, director of Berlin Festival winner "Grbavica," in this Los Angeles Times story.

Heralded at Berlin, Zbanich's film -- a post-war drama about a mother and daughter -- has elicited powerful reactions in Berlin, Sarajevo and Belgrade. "However, there are people who do not want this movie shown. In fact, unless something changes, it will not be shown in the Serb-run part of Bosnia," she writes. "This is not an official ban. The owner of the only cinema there had seen the film. . . . He thought it was excellent and not offensive, so we agreed to show it in the Bosnian Serb city of Banja Luka in March. But he changed his mind after the reactions among radical Serbs in Bosnia and Serbia to my speech in Berlin, in which I called for the arrest of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic."

While the film may never get distributed there, the story notes that pirated copies are selling like hotcakes.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the film remains without any U.S. release, as far as I know. Despite favorable reactions to the film, distributors have told me it's too challenging to release here. Is this another "unofficial ban"?

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