Aida Begic’s extraordinary and penetrating study of this post-war society is a wonderful testament to the resilience of the human spirit – witnessed through the eyes of three generations of women. It is 1997, two short years after the end of the bitter internecine conflict that ripped apart Yugoslavia. In the eastern Bosnian village Slavno – a village is populated almost entirely by women and children, either orphans or fatherless – the survivors are struggling to reassemble their lives. Nadija does not definitively know the fate of her spouse. She has a teenaged daughter who still holds out hope that her father will miraculously return. Alma, who knows that her husband will never return, lives with a couple of young orphaned children. The elderly Safija, cares for Alma, and a single old man who has likely been spared due to his age. All of them struggle to get by, pushing carts up the local hills to the highway in vain attempts to sell goods and make some money. Everything changes when a couple of men, Serbs, turn up and offer to buy their various properties to develop into hotels and a resort. There seems to be one inevitable outcome – to sell.
Snow delicately relays the kaleidoscope of emotions at play among the various women, which swing from bitterness and despondency to resilience and then hope. This is a highly sophisticated piece of filmmaking from a director who has found a worthy subject: what is contained in the lives of survivors.