Quo Vadis, Aida? ★★★½

The opening scene of QUO VADIS, AIDA? shows the labor that goes into its hero Aida's (Jasna Duricic) job as a translator. It occurred to me that using English dialogue might have been a calculation to help it get international distribution, but it also reflects a situation where desperate people were forced to communicate in a lingua franca that wasn't their own. QUO VADIS, AIDA? balances two main stories: the fate of Aida and her family as they end up in a Serbian internment camp for Bosnian Muslims with the impotence of the UN, whose official stance of neutrality turns foul. Director Jasmila Zbanic is able to show emotional devastation without onscreen violence (which the film completely eschews.) She's also very good at framing crowds. At a time when both tankies and the far right (as well as Nobel laureate Peter Handke, of course) are prone to Serbian genocide denialism, QUO VADIS, AIDA? is a welcome reminder of this not-so-distant history.