A 2021 Film Journey: Day 71

Another quick one tonight. Even with it being a Friday night, I’m too exhausted after a long work week to make it through more than one film tonight. Even with only one film watched, tonight I pass the halfway point for watching the Oscar best international film shortlist (8 of 15). I won’t be able to quite finish them this weekend, so any I miss that don’t end up with a nomination may fall off my radar, but I’m happy with the large chunk I’ve made it through thus far.

Quo vadis, Aida? (2021, Dir. Jasmila Žbanić)

Quo vadis, Aida? / Italia / aree / Home - Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso  Transeuropa

That was a downer of a way to end a week. Quo vadis, Aida? chronicles the moments leading up to the Srebrenica massacre from the eyes of a UN translator and native Bosniak Aida (Jasna Đuričić). When the Serbian army shows up to the UN compound, Aida must balance her obligations to her job cordially translating for those who would bring her people harm with her dedication to her husband and sons. What starts as a dry war drama quickly devolves into a devastating depiction of the extremes of a mother’s love.

While not exclusively told from her point of view Aida’s presence is felt in every moment of the film. Đuričić makes the most of the extensive camera time. As the inevitability of the impeding genocide becomes more apparent, she loses her professional demeanor and becomes frantic in her body language. This performance is punctuated by the mostly dialogue free coda. The film drops the intensity and instead becomes hauntingly calm. Đuričić depicts Aida a stone faced and broken while forced to move on in life while being completely unable to in practice.

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