Distributed by Condor, the Bosnian-Turkish-European production La Voix d’Aida by Jasmila Žbanić can be seen in cinemas. The film, carried by Jasna Đuričić, looks back on the Srebrenica massacre that took place in July 1995.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
Srebrenica, July 1995. A modest English teacher, Aida has just been requisitioned as an interpreter with the Blue Helmets, stationed on the outskirts of the city. Their camp is overwhelmed: the inhabitants come to seek refuge there by the thousands, terrified by the imminent arrival of the Serbian army.
Responsible for translating the instructions and reassuring the crowd, Aida is soon won by the certainty that the worst is inevitable. She then decides to do everything to save her husband and her two sons, trapped behind the gates of the camp.
A LITTLE HISTORY
La Voix d’Aida toured festivals in 2020-2021 and was nominated for Oscars and BAFTAs in the “best foreign film” category. Currently in theaters, the film by Bosnian Jasmila Žbanić retraces the fatal day of July 11, 1995.
This date corresponds to the massacre of more than 8,300 Bosnian Muslim men in Srebrenica by units of the Army of the Bosnian Serb Republic under the command of General Ratko Mladic.
This high-ranking official is played by Boris Isaković who also played another contemporary executioner, Slobodan Milošević, in the mini-series Porodica (The Family).
The Muslim enclave, although under the protection of the United Nations, fell under the control of Serbian militias. The director re-enacts the separation of women and children from men of age to bear arms but demilitarized.
The latter will flee through mined fields where they will be parked and then executed. This ethnic cleansing represents the worst genocide since World War II.
CHRONICLE OF A MASSACRE
Jasmila Žbanić, author of Sarajevo, mon amour and Les Femmes de Visegrad among others, chooses for her latest work to no longer address the ghosts and past traumas due to the Yugoslav conflict of the 1990s on Bosnian soil.
In Aida’s voice, she transcribes the evil itself by staging the last hours of a family and some of their fellow citizens before the Srebrenica massacre with a powerful flashback of a round where the camera gazes function like vanities .
Through the fictional character of the civilian Aida, played feverishly by Serbian actress Jasna Đuričić, and her predominantly male family (her husband and two sons respectively played by Izudin Bajrovic, Boris Ler, and Dino Bajrovic), the director s linger on this clan which will symbolize the immeasurable number of families affected by the tragedy.
Aida, by her ability to speak English, will make the link between the representatives of the UN, the terrorized Bosnian exiles – the many wide shots highlight the vastness of the crowd – and the Serbian executioners.
From the height of his new function and by his gaze, the spectator assists helplessly like the Dutch peacekeepers at the underhand strategy put in place by Ratko Mladic.
The original title – Quo Vadis Aida? – uses the Latin expression “Quo Vadis” which could be translated as “Where is the world going?”. Here, its application questions the future of a country and more precisely of an ethnic group, that of the Bosnians, after a fratricidal war.
The almost real-time performance places the viewer in a state of bewilderment. The latter, helpless, can only follow Aida’s frantic and futile race against time to protect his family.
Beyond a clinical staging of July 11, 1995, Jasmila Žbanić’s film evokes, via the last sequence, the possibility (or the impossibility) of establishing a collective memory between the survivors and the executioners, the remaining population. Bosnian and Bosnian Serbs.