The Bosnian War lasted three and a half years, and is surely one of the most complex conflicts that has ever rocked the Balkan states. Was it fought between nations, between religions, or between ethnicities? What was its goal? The crimes committed during this conflict, despite its conclusion in 1995, are still being prosecuted. Mass graves are still being discovered.
It's against the grim background of the Bosnian War, and reflecting its confusion, complexity, and violence, that the 2012 film Twice Born is set. Based upon the novel by Irish-Italian writer Margaret Mazzantini, Twice Born is the story of Gemma (Penelope Cruz), who was forced to flee from the Bosnian conflict with her infant son, Pietro (Pietro Castleittio), leaving her husband, Diego (Emile Hirsch), to fend for himself in Sarajevo. Diego does not survive the war.
Pietro is now sixteen years old. He and his mother live in Rome, and Penelope has remarried. But Pietro's relationship with Penelope is unsettled and precarious. Penelope hopes that, by revisiting Sarajevo with Pietro, they'll be able to resolve long-standing issues. She brings with her on their journey a long-held secret about Pietro. But she soon finds out that the journey they have undertaken will reveal far more secrets than the one she brings with her.