Jasmila Žbanić

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Romania, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, France, Norway, Turkey, 2020 / 104 min / Bosnian, English & Dutch OV with French & Dutch or English subt. / Drama, War

In 1995, during the Bosnian genocide, a translator fights to save the lives of her husband and sons.

Bosnia, July 1995. Aida is working as a translator for the United Nations in the small town of Srebrenica. As the Serbian army encroaches on the town, her family is among the thousands of refugees looking for shelter in the nearby UN military base, operated by Dutch peacekeepers. Soon after, the Serbian forces start rounding up citizens and, after ignoring a UN ultimatum, they begin shelling the besieged civilians. The situation escalates and the refugees are left as lambs to the slaughter. As an insider to the negotiations, Aida has access to crucial information that she needs to interpret to reassure the crowds. As it dawns on her, that UN forces are not willing to intervene, she is torn between her professional and private duties, frantically scrambling to save her family within the so-called safe zone.

“As its eponymous heroine’s bargaining to save her family gives way to sacrifice, Quo Vadis, Aida? plays like a waking nightmare in the darkest corridors of the soul. It’s too late to ask where humanity went during this horrific ordeal. Now, we only have the accounts of those who survived. That these memories of atrocity are so masterfully assembled in this heart-wrenching artifact by Žbanić – who herself survived the war – is a testament to the indomitable human spirit.” Dorota Lech, Toronto International Film Festival


Fri 05/03 18:30 Ciné Utopia BA, EN & NL OV with FR & NL subt. Public
Sat 06/03 10:00 Public
Sun 07/03 19:00 Cinémathèque BA, EN & NL OV with EN subt. Public
Wed 10/03 16:30 Ciné Utopia BA, EN & NL OV with FR & NL subt. Public
Sun 14/03 13:30 Ciné Utopia BA, EN & NL OV with FR & NL subt. Public
Sun 14/03 19:00 Cinémathèque BA, EN & NL OV with EN subt. Public

"This is not historical revisionism, if anything, Quo Vadis, Aida? works to un-revise history, re-centering the victims’ plight as the eye of a storm of evils — not only the massacre itself, but the broader evils of institutional failure and international indifference. Ending with an intensely moving epilogue that reads as both a slender hope for a co-operative future and a cry of anguish for survivors who even now must live alongside those perpetrators never brought to justice, this is a fiercely impressive recreation of impossible dilemmas that should never have arisen, a situation that never should have happened and a human catastrophe that must never be forgotten.” Jessica Kiang, Variety, 05/09/2020

“A terrifically harrowing historical film that's impossible to forget.” Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, 09/03/2020

“Žbanic builds tension slowly, never dropping the pressure but allowing the characters (and audience) room to breathe amongst the chaos. Up until the film’s harrowing final moments, the director only alludes to the most horrific details, keeping these just offscreen. […] It’s an elegant way to tell a war story that preserves the characters’ humanity, but make the inevitable tragic ending all the more devastating.” Jude Dry, IndieWire, 15/09/2020

“Her latest film seemed to me an icily brilliant and overwhelmingly convincing attempt to tackle, head-on, this shameful atrocity: shameful for the UN, the European Union and all those western world leaders who had been reluctant to intervene – perhaps because the totemic word ‘Sarajevo’ made them fear a new world war. Perhaps also in their hearts they thought military intervention was all very well in the Middle East but not in Europe. […] After 25 years, the time has come to look again at the horror of Srebrenica, and Zbanic has done this with clear-eyed compassion and candour.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 20/01/2021

“The film is immersive and incredibly engaging. It’s a small wonder that while there is not a minute to waste, certainly not for grandiose monologues, Žbanić still shows every aspect of war: the lack of communication, the utter helplessness of just about everyone involved despite their declarations, and the realisation that there is no way out suddenly hitting you like a cold sweat. The fact that she doesn’t talk about some remote past, but about an event from 1995 – one she has already described as “a huge trauma for all Bosnians” – makes it even more terrifying, especially when filtered through all these voices calling for ‘patriotism’ these days. It’s very telling that in Quo Vadis, Aida?, the people coming with the guns are the ones you know – Aida’s old students from school, someone’s friend from university. It’s absurd and it’s scary, and it can happen again.” Marta Bałaga, Cineuropa, 03/09/2020

  • Best Film – International Feature Film Competition Award, Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, 2020, (Turkey)
  • Best Actress for Jasna Đuričić, El Gouna Film Festival, 2020, (Egypt)
  • Golden Star – Feature Narrative Competition, El Gouna Film Festival, 2020, (Egypt)
  • International Film, Jerusalem Film Festival, 2020, (Israel)
  • Best Feature Film, Les Arcs European Film Festival, 2020 (France)
  • Audience Award, Les Arcs European Film Festival, 2020 (France)
Cast & Credits
Jasna Đuričić, Boris Isaković, Raymond Thiry, Juda Goslinga, Teun Luijkx, Johan Heldenbergh, Reinout Bussemaker, Sol Vinken
Jasmila Žbanić
Christine A. Maier
Igor Čamo
Hannes Salat
Antoni Komasa-Łazarkiewicz
Deblokada, coop99 Filmproduktion, Digital Cube, N279 Entertainment, Razor Film, Extreme Emotions, Indie Prod, Tordenfilm

Born in Sarajevo in 1974, Jasmila Žbanić studied theatre and film directing at the city’s Academy of the Performing Arts. In 1997, she founded Deblokada, an association for artists which went on to produce all of her films. Her debut feature, Grbavica (2006) won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, as well as numerous other awards. In 2010, On the Path, premiered in competition at the Berlinale. It also screened at the Luxembourg City Film Festival in 2011. In 2014, she won the Kairos Prize in recognition of her work’s major cultural and social impact. Her latest film, Quo vadis, Aida?, was selected for the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals among others and won multiple international awards.

  • 2020 – Quo vadis, Aida?
  • 2014 – Love Island
  • 2014 – Jedan dan u Sarajevu (documentary)
  • 2013 – For Those Who Can Tell No Tales
  • 2010 – Na Putu
  • 2008 – Stories on Human Rights: Participation (short)
  • 2006 – Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams
  • 2005 – Lost and Found: Birthday (short)
  • 2003 – Images from the Corner (short)
  • 2000 – Red Rubber Boots (short)
  • 1998 – Made in Sarajevo: Noc je. Mi svijetlimo (short)