writing on the website of the Serbian Film Center, a government-funded body, called it “easily one of the best regional films of recent years” and praised it for being made “without the usual national-nationalist colors.”

Zbanic was adamant the film is not about blame or revenge. “Serbia is not what their government is,” she said. “It never was.” She made the film, she said, because she wants to “share at least one percent of the pain” of mothers still looking for their children’s bodies, and because she also wants young people in the Balkans to see what really happened at Srebrenica so they can have more empathy with each one another and no longer be ethnically divided.

For the film’s premiere, she invited about 100 young people — Muslims and ethnic Serbs and Croats — to watch it at a memorial center in Srebrenica. “I cried the whole time when it was screened,” Sladjan Tomic, 25, a Bosnian-Serb journalist, said in an email, adding that it showed an honest view of what happened that he didn’t get as a child.

“Unfortunately, there is not much utility in this movie if my Serbian peers do not see it,” he said. But he held out some hope they might do so if it wins the Oscar.

Zbanic said the film’s message wasn’t just about Srebrenica. People need to discuss all genocides, she added, as that’s the only way to learn from them and ensure they never happen again.

“Are we are going to live with eyes closed or eyes open?” Zbanic said. “That’s the question.”

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