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A young mother whose child disappeared during the Balkan wars of the 1990s catches a hint she might be alive and moves heaven and earth to find her in this engrossing work by German filmmaker Christian Wagner. A screen-commanding Macedonian actress, Labina Mitevska (Before the Rain, Welcome to Saravejo), drives all before her as the possessed mother. With no room in her life for anything but her obsessive search, it’s very affecting when Mitevska shows any emotion at all, as she eventually does. Wagner’s film takes her across the Adriatic, smuggled under sardines, and eventually to Germany, where intense struggles of a different sort await her. Everyone along the way is as vividly characterized as its star, not least Katrin Sass (Goodbye Lenin) as a UNESCO worker who is both enemy and friend. This highly recommended film works as maternal melodrama, postwar adventure, psychological study, and portrait of the new Europe of the new century.
Mon., Aug. 25, 7 & 9 p.m., 2008

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