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The Abandoned

Pic follows 12-year-old Alen as he runs away from an orphanage to search for his birth mother.

With: Tony Grga, Mirsad Tuka, Mira Furlan, Dragan Marinkovic, Mirela Lambic. (Bosnian dialogue)

Children and women suffer in wartime — that’s the message of the well-meaning but overdone melodrama “The Abandoned,” from Bosnian helmer Adis Bakrac, chief of the new Sarajevo Film Center. Calling attention to the plight of children born of rape during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but with far less nuance and polish than Jasmila Zbanic’s similarly themed “Grbavica,” pic follows 12-year-old Alen (Tony Grga) as he runs away from a Sarajevo orphanage to search for his birth mother. Sometimes clunky and cliched, other times genuinely affecting, this tearjerker for less discerning audiences should find succor at other fests.

Pic’s first half etches daily life at the orphanage run by kindhearted Cica (Mira Furlan) and understanding Mirza (Mirsad Tuka), as well as Alen’s escapades in a gang of thieving youths under the control of crooked local businessman Sento (Dragan Marinkovic). Alen grew up believing he was the abandoned child of a mixed marriage; the truth he ultimately discovers about his parentage proves even crueler. Production package and performances feel better suited to a telepic than to a theatrical feature, with clumsy cutting an irritant.

The Abandoned


Production: A Heft Prods./Olimp Produkcija/A+D Films/DariFilms/RTV FBiH production, with the support of Federation Bosnia and Herzegovina, Foundation for Cinematography, Sarajevo, Canton of Sarajevo Ministry of Culture and Sports, City of Sarajevo, Republic of Croatia Ministry of Culture, MIC, Film Center Serbia with the participation of Fonds Sud Cinema, Ministry of Culture and Communication -- CNC, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs France. (International sales: Heft Prods., Sarajevo.) Produced by Almir Sahinovic. Co-producers, Marijo Vukadin, Biljana Buncic, Zoran Tasic. Directed by Adis Bakrac. Screenplay, Zlatko Topcic.

Crew: Camera (color) Vladan Radovic; editor, Michko Netchak; music, Vlado Podany; production designer, Emir Geljo; costume designer, Azra Mehic. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (East of the West), July 8, 2010. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Tony Grga, Mirsad Tuka, Mira Furlan, Dragan Marinkovic, Mirela Lambic. (Bosnian dialogue)

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