QUO VADIS, AIDA?
QUO VADIS, AIDA?
Director: Jasmila Zbanic
Runtime: 103 minutes
Cast: Jasna Đuričić, Izudin Bajrović, Boris Isaković, Johan Heldenbergh, Raymond Thiry, Rob Franken, Boris Ler, Dino Bajrović, Emir Hadžihafizbegović, Edita Malovčić
Synopsis: Bosnia, July 1995. Aida is a translator for the UN in the small town of Srebrenica. When the Serbian army takes over the town, her family is among the thousands of citizens looking for shelter in the UN camp. As an insider to the negotiations Aida has access to crucial information that she needs to interpret. What is on the horizon for her family and her people – rescue or death? What moves should she make?
Jasmila Zbanic, the award-winning director of ‘Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams’ (2006) returns with a powerful drama focused on one of the most shameful episodes of recent European history – the Srebrenica massacre. It was shown in the main competition section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival, 2020, and was selected as the Bosnian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, 2021.
Srebrenica is no longer just the name of a town. It represents the worst of human cruelty and an act that many had hoped was expunged from European history with the end of the Second World War. Jasmila Zbanic’s drama unfolds in 1995, just as the Serbian army and militia have entered the mostly Muslim Bosnia town. Aida (Jasna Đuričić) is a translator for the UN. Her family is among the thousands of citizens looking for shelter in the UN camp. But as an insider to the negotiations, she has access to crucial information that forces her into the untenable position of deciding between her obligation to those she loves and her UN role that has a wider impact. Director Zbanic’s humanity, locating her story on an all too relatable level, within an event that most of us would find impossible to comprehend, is what raises Quo Vadis, Aida? far above the level of the standard war film.
Zbanic shows with precise, historical detail, the deep emotional tragedy of the Srebrenica Massacre, thanks to her devastating and astute script and direction, aided by a spellbinding performance in the title role from Jasna Ɖjuričić, which heartbreakingly illuminates her harrowing and desperate plight, and by restrained but powerful images from her cinematographer Christine A. Maier
Quo Vadis, Aida? is a powerful, important film that is able to portray the events of the Srebrenica genocide yet focus on the personal trajedy of a handful of people who once belonged to the same communities, a point underlined in the epilogue to shocking effect.
Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema
Images courtesy of Curzon Artificial Eye