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Quo Vadis, Aida?

(Bosnia and Herzegovina, English Subtitles): This historical film is based on the massacre of thousands of men and boys in an ethnic cleansing operation in Bosnia in the mid-1990s. The event is told through the experience of Aida, a translator for the United Nations peacekeeping forces assigned to monitor a temporary cease-fire between the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Muslims. Aria knows more about what is going on and what is about to happen, but she finds herself torn between the needs of her people and the activities of the UN overseers as well as the need to save her sons and husband. The direction and screenplay are excellent, as is the performance of the lead actress who plays Aida. The film captures well the “fog of war” and the chaos that results from the UN’s botched efforts at maintaining peace. Since I am not very familiar with this part of history, I read about the event before watching the film. Even knowing the outcome, the film pulsed with energy and dread as Aida frantically tries to figure out the right path forward. I loved the film. It is sleek and never meanders from the main theme and well-acted. It is also a heartbreaking examination of the personal impact of war and genocide. Big thumbs up from me. This is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s entry for the Oscars this year, and it is well-deserving of the nod. (2020; 5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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