Marija Pikic was a 21-year-old drama student with a few professional credits when helmer-writer Aida Begic chose her to star in "Children of Sarajevo." She won the actress kudo at last year's Sarajevo fest.
Pikic, who is Bosnian Orthodox, could immediately relate to her character, a devout Muslim named Rahima. Says Pikic: "Rahima's story is a mirror image of my entire generation. My generation, in our early 20s, should have doors and opportunities open to us ... instead, our society is lost in translation. We wanted to create a film of hope and change."
Pikic was born and raised in Trebinje, in the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her cousin, an actress, encouraged her interest in thesping and cinema, as did her father, who has run a DVD club for 20 years. At 19, she was cast in the fi lm "The Enemy," a war drama directed by Dejan Zecevic. "This was a monumental moment," says Pikic. "Working on 'The Enemy' satisfied my cravings for this bittersweet profession." She also credits her mentor, acting teacher Elena Trepetova.
With its wartorn past, the former republic of Yugoslavia now consists of multiple regions, but Pikic says it's not difficult for an actress to look beyond the divides of nationality and religion. "I think in this profession it is important to be open-minded, and I don't think an actor can evolve if they are closed off in their viewpoints of others. I enjoy working and learning about cultures different than mine."
"What impressed me the most was that after you give her instructions about a certain line or scene, she is able to play it immediately and play it perfectly," director Begic says. "I felt like I was touching some fine instrument that produces beautiful music."
Pikic, now 23, returns to the 19th Sarajevo fest (Aug. 16-24) as mistress of ceremonies for opening and closing nights, and as star of the Bosnian competition title "With Mom," written and directed by Faruk Loncarevic. She has a film in post production, "Sizif K.," directed by Filip Gajic, and is working on two TV sitcoms, "Kriza Srednjih Godina" and "Lud, Zbunjen, Normalan," both directed by Elmir Jukic.
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