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Scene from "Warchild" (photo © Wagnerfilm/Julian Spandig)

Sarajevo 2005, the war has been over for years, but it still holds 30-year-old Senada hostage. Her daughter, Aida, has been "missing" for nine years, but Senada has not yet forsaken the hope that she is alive. She clings in despair to a vague sign, in spite of the fact that her ex-husband and her friends encourage her to finally let go and try to build a new life. But Senada refuses to give up. When she finds evidence that the Red Cross flew children to Germany during the war, she follows the trail immediately and arrives after a long journey in Ulm. She is rewarded there for her stubborn determination: Aida had actually been brought to Germany. However, the then two-year-old girl was given up for adoption, under the assumption that her parents were dead. The life of the German family, Heinle, and their 12-year-old daughter, Kristina, is suddenly shaken by its roots when they learn that the mother they thought was dead is indeed alive and wants her daughter back. The Heinles are confused. They love their daughter more than anything and cannot conceive of losing her. Senada is reunited with her daughter, who is happy, firmly rooted in her new life, and no longer even able to speak the native language of her natural mother. Senada is confronted with a difficult decision: should she insist on the return of her daughter, wrenching her from her social circumstances and life in Germany, or return alone to Bosnia with the knowledge that her daughter is alive and doing well?

A modern, passionate story of a strong woman ill-served by destiny, but who nonetheless forges on. Warchild weaves its tale by use of the characters’ tension and gestures, as well as the suppressed and unspoken emotions of the protagonist, creating along the way a gripping family constellation along the lines of the Scandinavian narrative, and a magical ending. In spite of the intensity, the anxiety and drama result in total “relief” for Senada at the end.
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2005
Director Christian Wagner
Screenplay Edin Hadzimahovic, Stefan Daehnert
Cinematography Thomas Mauch
Jens Klueber
Konstantia Gourzi, Xaver Naudascher
Otto Kinzer, Gudrun Schretzmeier
Cast Labina Mitevska, Senad Basic, Katrin Sass, Otto Kukla, Zdenko Jelcic, Crescentia Duensser, Miranda Leonhardt, Heinrich Schmieder, Milena Zupancic, Lucija Serbedzija, Joelle Ludwig
Producers Christian Wagner, Dunja Klemenc
Production Companies Dusko Milavec, Wagnerfilm/Munich, in co-production with Studio Maj/Ljubljana
Runtime 103 min
Format 35 mm, color
Subtitled Versions English, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Montreal 2006 (In Competition), LIFFE Ljubljana 2006, Hamptons 2006, Kolkata 2006, Thessaloniki 2006, Portoroz 2006, Goeteborg 2007, Berlin 2007 (German Cinema), Philadelphia 2007, Lecce 2007, Molodist Kiev 2007, Havana 2008
Awards Bavarian Film Award (Special Jury Prize), Best Screenplay Montreal 2006, Audience Award Portoroz, Golden Olive Tree & Special Audience Award 2007
With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, MFG Baden-Württemberg, BKM, Slovenian Film Fund, Eurimages
German Distributor Movienet Film/Munich

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