2022 LUX Audience Award: Quo Vadis, Aida? by Jasmila Žbanić
On 11 December, during the 34th edition of the European Film Awards, the three nominees for the 2022 LUX Audience Award were finally unveiled during a ceremony live-streamed from Berlin. Jasmila Žbanić’s latest effort, Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Romania, France, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Norway, Turkey), was selected by a panel of European film professionals to compete for the pan-European audience award, together with Flee by Jonas Poher Rasmussen (Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden) and Great Freedom by Sebastian Meise (Austria, Germany).
Žbanić’s heart-breaking story, which focuses on a UN translator trying to save her family from the Srebrenica massacre during the Bosnian War, was also the big winner of the night (see news), taking home the awards for Best European Film, Best European Director and Best European Actress for Jasna Đuričić, who delivers a brilliant performance as the titular character. Since its world premiere in Competition at the 77th Venice Film Festival in 2020, the film went on to score several awards at different international film festivals —such as Les Arcs, Arras, Göteborg or IFFR, among others— and was selected as Bosnia and Herzegovina's Oscar submission last year.
The Bosnian director is well-known for her compelling explorations of war trauma in the ex-Yugoslavian territories (starting with her feature debut, Grbavica, which won the Golden Bear at the 2006 Berlinale). Žbanić’s recount of the Srebrenica genocide forces us to look back into one of the darkest chapters in recent European history. From the first sequences, we are thrown into a nerve-racking race against the clock inside the UN camp after the Serbian army takes over the town in 1995. The calculated pace of the film and the great story-telling manage to keep audiences engaged, despite being fully aware of the tragic outcome of the story. “As human beings, we always have hope, even in the most terrible situations. [...] Even though people know how the story will end, they still hope”, in Žbanić’s words (read here full interview).
Everything is told from Aida’s perspective, a determined and relentless school teacher turned interpreter for the UN during the conflict, accompanying those in power during the calls and meetings that will decide the fate of thousands of people, including her husband and children. According to Žbanić, it is “a film about the passion of a woman to save her family in the most difficult circumstances”. When receiving the European Film Academy Award, the director said that the film was dedicated to all the women and mothers of Srebrenica, “who found a way to build peace in a country in ruins”, while inspiring new female filmmakers to tell their own stories.
You can vote for the film on www.luxaward.eu