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      As If I Am Not There

      2009 1 hr. 40 min. Drama List
      85% 13 Reviews Tomatometer 77% 500+ Ratings Audience Score After just moving to Sarajevo, a young woman is imprisoned in a Bosnian war camp. Read More Read Less

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      As If I Am Not There

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      Audience Reviews

      View All (10) audience reviews
      Miguel Angel S Cruda en todo su esplendor, actuaciones flojas y en ocasiones poco convincentes pero en la mayoría del metraje están a la altura, es digno de mención la toma de riesgo que se tomo el director y la confianza que le entregaron los actores, tema poco visto. la actuación principal expresa toda el alma de la pelicular y guion. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/25/22 Full Review Audience Member Hard to say whether it would have been a better film if it had not purported to be based on fact, but if you like your movies good and bleak, this is a knockout. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Juanita Wilson's portrayal of events in the Bosnian War (1992-5) focus primarily on women and girls as opposed to men or soldiers fighting in the conflict. The central character is Samira (Natasa Petrovic) who leaves her parents and younger sister to take up a teaching post in a remote rural village. She settles in well to her new life but one day smoke is on the horizon and gunfire can be heard. The Bosnian War has begun and soldiers descend on the village separating the men from the women and children. While the men are executed, the women and children are transported to camps where they remain prisoners throughout the war. While it's clear that many of the prisoners are subjected to labour, we follow Samira's own path as she is one day chosen to live with a small group of women, sealed away in a remote building and summoned at regular intervals to be raped by groups of men. Women of all ages and even young girls are subjected to this ordeal and Samira's first experiences sees her both beaten and raped by a trio of men. The title of the film resonates in this scene as Samira reflects on her ill treatment and how she is just a plaything rather than a human being. Samira remains strong though and catches the eye of the camp commander (Miraj Grbic) who takes her as his lover and she comes to receive some preferential treatment. The question is can Samira survive the war and will she make it back to her family? As If I Am Not There swaps the bloody conflict of war for the suffering of the innocent civilians, in this case the women and children. After a pleasant opening it becomes a gritty and often unpleasant drama with the prisoners being shown no mercy, especially a young girl who Samira comes to care for. Petrovic is excellent in the lead, conveying a remarkably strong and independent woman in Samira, one who somehow withstands everything that is thrown at her and she emerges as something of a leader by the end. Though we witness the end of the Bosnian War it is only the start of a new battle for the women and children that have lived through it. There are no real happy endings, no magical cures here, simply harsh reality. The only downside to the film is it feels somewhat unfinished in its conclusion but perhaps that is an apt reflection of the scars war leaves on a nation and its people. As If I Am Not There is a brutal but well-acted film that looks at the lives of civilians caught in the middle of a war they did not desire or start. The mass rape that was prevalent during the Bosnian War is explored here and we have victims that we will both pity and admire for their strength and resolve in surviving such a terrible ordeal. While the conclusion may seem to be missing something, this is still a compelling drama about a dark period of modern history. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/17/23 Full Review Audience Member Only for those with a strong stomach, this Balkan gruellingly tough drama based on a 1999 novel by the Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic, gives an unblinking look at sexual violence and degradation which albeit being exceptionally uneasy to watch, it is a film that really should be seen. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/28/23 Full Review Audience Member An extremely harsh film that presents a side of the Bosnian War with astute realism. Samira is a young school teacher living in Sarajevo who takes a job in a small country town during the outbreak of the Bosnian War. Serbian soldiers overrun the town taking the woman with them as laborers and sex objects, while killing off all the men. This is a film that chronicles that horror which young Samira is subjected to on an almost daily basis. The film is told in a very somber way; there really isn't much dialogue, relying much more on Natasa Petrovic physical acting (which is fantastic) as well as various cinematic techniques: framing, focus, POV, and sound to express the feelings and emotions in which these woman, particularly Samira, is going through. Focusing more on the massive sexual degradation which takes place the film is told entirely from a woman's point-of-view. Its unflinching and truthful approach to these these horrible events which never comes off as cheap or manipulative. The last 20-30 minutes of the film are after the war ends, where Samira ties to adjust to living life again. Some great cinematic moments in which we are transplanted into her psyche with the last 20-30 minutes completing this woman's journey as a symbol of the many individuals who suffered in the war and how hard it can be for one to simply move on after such types of events. Its the type of film that isn't exactly a pleasurable viewing experience, yet should be seen. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review Audience Member Briiliant acting and excellent direction that depicts prison camps during Bosnian war. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Critics Reviews

      View All (13) Critics Reviews
      Independent (UK) Rated: 3/5 Jul 8, 2011 Full Review Priscilla Eyles Little White Lies An unforgettable central performance, but could be more dramatically engaging. Rated: 3/5 Jul 1, 2011 Full Review Derek Malcolm London Evening Standard It's an audaciously truthful film, made by a film-maker of considerable skill without an inch of prurience, and totally from a woman's point of view. Rated: 4/5 Jul 1, 2011 Full Review Sarah Manvel Critic's Notebook Wilson's direction and Tim Fleming's cinematography are enormous, stunning achievements. But if a movie is horrible to watch, then why watch it? Aug 9, 2018 Full Review Keir Roper-Caldbeck The Skinny The story is told with a studied spareness. Dialogue and characterisation are minimal, the violence graphic. Rated: 3/5 Sep 21, 2011 Full Review Allan Hunter Daily Express (UK) The plot never quite adds up and starts to drift aimlessly in the closing stages. Rated: 2/5 Jul 3, 2011 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis After just moving to Sarajevo, a young woman is imprisoned in a Bosnian war camp.
      Juanita Wilson
      Executive Producer
      Winfried Hammacher
      Original Language
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jan 4, 2019
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