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Hot Docs 2022: “Bigger Than Trauma”


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

What can war offer other than lives torn apart, lost, children left orphaned, heritage destroyed and broken pieces that must be brought together and fixed with patches? Can lives be fulfilled after bombs stop flying above the head? Can the brutality of war be forgotten just because it’s over?

Twenty-five years is a good milestone to be proud of when it comes to defeating a certain battle, war or trauma. But the women of Croatia have not healed from the war. Some of them still remember how they were raped by soldiers and the tough choice they made… “either me or my 12-year-old child”. It’s the hardest challenge a woman can face and only a mother can put her own life at stake for the sake of the child. Katica, Ana and Marija have their troubled, heartbreaking and deeply disturbing journey to share. The journey that will turn your day upside down, because the only question you will have, sadly, no single person alive can answer – was it worth it?

Directed by Vedrana Pribacic, “Bigger than Trauma” is a moving documentary that shows how all three documentary subjects try to find a way to heal their soul through attending a pioneering program that invites both Serbian and Croatian women to participate in a deeply re-inventing therapy for the self. The film, rather the camera, subtly captures intimate moments when you feel as if the soul departs the body and returns back to it as if it were the only way to reshape a stronger and empowering future.

This is why “Bigger than Trauma” is an important story to learn about. Because it emphasizes the importance of finding the right path toward self-rediscovery and leaving trauma behind no matter how big the scars are. Even though it may not help Ana, Marija and Katica to forget the tortures they had to endure during the war, it still offers a brighter path toward the future that can be more fulfilling than it was before.

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