Film Review: Quo Vadis, Aida?

The United Nations (UN) was formed after the end of World War II, established on the principles of maintaining international peace and security, mutual cooperation and harmonizing relations across members states. One of the organisation’s most high-profile responsibilities is providing peacekeeping forces in conflict zones around the world. However, it has received criticism for inaction in several high-profile atrocities, including in Srebrenica which provides the setting for Quo Vadis, Aida?

Towards the end of the Bosnian War, the Serbian army invade the UN ‘safe area’ of Srebrenica. Aida (Jasna Đuričić), a local teacher, assists the UN peacekeepers as a translator at their local headquarters. As the Bosnian Serb Army begin to take over the eastern city, fearing for their lives the residents try to take refuge in the base; with thousands trapped outside as Ratko Mladić’s forces close in. Aida desperately tries to convince the commanding officer to let her family into the compound.

Quo Vadis, Aida? is a powerful drama which documents events surrounding one of the darkest days in post-war European history. Jasmila Zbanic’s film concentrates these events through the eyes of her lead. Aida, as a translator, becomes party to sensitive information and placed in a situation where she has to choose between duty and family. This personal angle allows the viewer to empathise with the fate of many. Quo Vadis, Aida? Is not just about the victims of this massacre but those who live on with their memories.

Quo Vadis, Aida? Is on Curzon Home Cinema from 22 January.

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