belongs to an important group of filmmakers who as very young art
students experienced firsthand the war against Bosnia-Heregowina and
against the capital city of Sarajevo in particular. While the war was
still waging, they decided to begin making films.
The institutional framework in which Jasmila Žbanić shows her films is
that of contemporary art exhibitions or projects and not so much that
of cinema. The conceptual approach employed by Žbanić is documentary and
based on extensive research. Her subject matter – the war in Bosnia
– did not become moot for the filmmaker and the populace once
the battles and attacks on the civilian population, which lasted from
1992 to 1995, were over. Žbanić
analyzes the consequences of the war, focussing on individual fates to
show the horrible repercussions of this war for the people.
In this exhibition project at the Galerie im Taxispalais Jasmila Žbanić is showing three
films: After, After (1997, Video, 16min), Red
Rubber Boots (2000, 18min) and Images From the
Corner (2003, 45min).
After, After addresses the
traumatization of children in Sarajewo as a result of the war. The
documentary film is based on the question “what are you
afraid of?“ which a psychologist asked school children. The
answers to this question show the toll the war took on the psyche of
children. In the case of seven-year olf Balma, whom Žbanić focuses on in her
film, the horror of a child’s experience almost leads to
total silence. Žbanić
succeeds in giving the little girl a voice and in visualizing, in short
sequences, the entire tragic dimension of her short life.
Red Rubber Boots deals with
the search of a mother, Jasna P., for the mortal remains of her two
children Amar (4 years) and Ajla (9 months). The children were
kidnapped and killed by the Serbian army during the final days of the
Bosnia war and allegedly buried in a mass grave. With the help of the
state commission for the search of missing persons Jasna P. studied the
available information, accompanied the search commission and visited
all mass graves in the hope of finding the red rubber boots that her
son was wearing when he was abducted and disappeared from her life, so
that she could finally get some closure on her children’s
In Images From the Corner
(2003) Žbanić takes
up the history of Bilja, who as a twenty year-old, in 1992, was shot at
and wounded in front of her apartment building and lost her arm as a
result. A well-known French photographer took pictures of her while she
was bleeding and needed help desperately. He did not assist her but
photographed her instead and became famous for the photograph. But what
about Bilja? What happened to her?
The filmic means and the filmic idiom
characterizing the works of Jasmila Žbanić
are not just informed by the medium of film, they are also influenced
by her work with puppet and street theater as well as her literary
activities. In addition to her film scripts Žbanić
also writes stories and theatre texts.
was born 1974 in Sarajevo where she still lives today.
Kind, die Frau, der Soldat, die Stadt (The Child, the
Woman, the Soldier, the City); an anthology of Bosnian-Herzogovinian
short stories; Es gibt keinen Börek mehr (There
is no more Börek), a theatre text; both were published by
Drava Verlag, Germany.