What are you doing, Aida? is an exceptional drama about the Srebrenica massacre

Fifteen years ago, Žbanićová drew attention to herself with the drama Grbavica, with which she won the Berlinale and which explored how to live on with the traumas of the Balkan War. Quo vadis, Aida ?, included in the competition of last year’s Venice Film Festival, returns right into the middle of the conflict that the director herself experienced in the formative age of early adulthood.

Here, too, the viewer perceives the destruction of war through the eyes of one woman. Teacher Aida works as an interpreter for Dutch UN troops, where they try to hide thousands of Bosnian Muslims from General Mladić’s Serbian army.

Among them was Aida’s husband and two newly grown sons. No matter how much more than 8,000 men the genocide knows, the viewer will experience the whole event as if it had not happened in July 1995, but right before his eyes.

Žbanićová and her team have the gift of getting the viewer to the center of the action and passing on to him all the uneasiness, worries, panic and desperate efforts of Aida, who knows more than the others, but remains helpless without the help of the world represented by the Dutch.

Žbanićová does not have to experiment with form. The strength of her film lies precisely in how deep she can evoke emotions, how she turns one historical event into a specific human tragedy, currently experienced horror and urgent warning. Serbian actress Jasna Đuričić expresses every thought and emotion in her face and movements, which the camera follows frantically and closely.

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What are you doing, Aida? is a film chilling, scary, but at the same time engaging, touching and human, thanks to its compassion, empathy and emphasis on the community. His rebuke for UN failure is eloquent, but not aggressive and black and white. Žbanićová does not frighten shots of corpses or blood, but something that is much harder to shake off.

Where are you going, Aida?

drama, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Romania, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, France, Norway, Turkey, 2020, 101 minutes
Director and screenplay: Jasmila Žbanićová
Players: Jasna Đuričićová, Johan Heldenbergh, Boris Isaković, Boris Ler
Rating: 100%

The author is a collaborator of the editorial board

Watch the official trailer for the movie Quo vadis, Aida ?:

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