Jasmila Zbanic’s Quo Vadis, Aida? is a razor-sharp incrimination of failed foreign policies from around the world embedded in a deeply humanist and moving character study of the kind of person that these policies leave behind.
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As a fictionalised account of what was once described as the worst European genocide in the post-war period, Quo Vadis, Aida? is wrenching and vital in its bitter grief. As a study of political and diplomatic inertia in the face of contemporary global human tragedies, it could not be more urgent.
This study in chaos and calculation not only makes for harrowingly compelling viewing, but it also exposes the apathy of an international community that simply turned the other way.
The subject is horrifying but the screen is hard to look away from, as the situation becomes a powder keg of tension.
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.
In Quo Vaids, Aida?, Žbanic lays bare the deeply human toll of violence and war.
Quo Vadis, Aida? re-creates history in the present tense, with a gut-clutching immediacy that Žbanić makes bearable through sheer formal restraint.
The energy and passion of Zbanic’s fresh, new, direct gaze at the conflict comes through in every frame.
Like the unblinking closeup that concludes the deeply moving (and ultimately redemptive?) epilogue to Quo Vadis, Aida?, Žbanić’s powerful and personal film keeps its eyes wide open.
There’s a real tragic power in this almost unbearably brutal and shocking movie from writer-director Jasmila Žbanić.