REVIEW German director Christian Wagner's Warchild is a captivating and tragic drama about the psychological repercussions of the Bosnian war. Ten years after the fighting has ended, Senada (Labina Mitevska) comes across evidence suggesting that her daughter Aida, who was lost in the melee, might still be alive. She follows lead after lead with a kind of eerie resolve, undaunted by the fact that everyone including her estranged husband thinks she's behaving irrationally. She eventually makes her way into Germany illegally and discovers that Aida, now 12 and renamed Kristina, was adopted by an affluent couple. Although the girl is clearly enjoying a life of privilege and has no recollection of her birth parents, Senada is determined to take her back to Bosnia. Naturally, this desperation is an expression of maternal love. But Senada also seems to believe that in reclaiming Aida, she will be able to reclaim the life that was essentially stolen from her during the war. Mitevska gives an arresting performance as the guarded but obviously broken protagonist; she is simultaneously sympathetic and unsettling.
WARCHILD opens Fri/22 at the Roxie Film Center. See Rep Clock for showtimes.