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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the film Dara of Jasenovac is a Serbian drama with English subtitles. It's reportedly based on historical accounts from Holocaust survivors. The movie focuses on the life of a 10-year-old Serbian girl named Dara Ilić (Biljana Čekić) at the Croatian concentration camp Jasenovac. Soldiers shoot prisoners who resist orders or try to escape. Prisoners are threatened by soldiers for not surrendering possessions such as money and jewelry. Prisoners engage in a deadly game of musical chairs and must secure a seat when the music stops or be killed. Men are seen killed with a knife or mallet. A woman is kicked by soldiers for stealing food. Dead bodies float in a river and are tossed in graves dug by prisoners. A man and woman soldier have sex. A woman is referred to as a "whore" by a soldier. There's drinking and smoking, scenes of urination, and images of a swastika. Dara of Jasenovac includes the powerful themes of compassion, courage, and perseverance.
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What's the story?
During World War II, Dara Ilić (Biljana Čekić), a 10-year-old Serbian girl, her mother, and two brothers are detained at a Croatian concentration camp known as Jasenovac. Her father is sent to a camp designated for men. Dara witnesses violence and endures the hate expressed toward her by camp officials. With words of encouragement from her mother and other prisoners, Dara is determined to find a way to freedom.
Is it any good?
Serbian movie director Predrag Peter Antonijević delivers a moving and often violent view of a Croatian concentration camp during World War II. As the young prisoner in Dara of Jasenovac, Čekić is convincing as a child exposed to the camp’s crimes against humanity. She also embraces the unexpected role of caring for a younger brother, assuring him that "no one can separate us." Now 80 years later, this first-ever feature about the history of the Jasenovac camp may prove to be an essential educational and teaching tool for further discussions about the Holocaust.
Talk to your kids about ...
Why does Dara believe it's important not to become separated from her younger brother? How significant can a bond be between siblings?
How does encouragement from Dara’s mother inspire her daughter? Why does Dara’s father feel it's necessary to reunite with his family?
What could be the director’s justification for depicting the brutal violence by soldiers against prisoners? How may such scenes impact a viewer?
What is the link between the phrase "Never Forget" and the Holocaust? What is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and its significance?
- On DVD or streaming: February 5, 2021
- Cast: Biljana Čekić, Zlatan Vidović, Anja Stanić Ilić
- Director: Predrag Peter Antonijević
- Studio: 101 Studios
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, History
- Character strengths: Compassion, Courage, Perseverance
- Run time: 130 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong and disturbing violent content, and some sexual content
- Last updated: February 26, 2021
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