Quo Vadis Aida?

A still from Quo Vadis Aida?

A still from Quo Vadis Aida? - Credit: Archant

Directed by Jasmila Zbanic. Starring Jasna Djuricic, Izudin Bajrovic, Boris Ler, Dino Bajrovic, Johan Heldenbergh, Raymond Thiry and Boris Isakovic. Subtitled. Available VOD from January 22. Running time: 101 mins. 3/5 stars

It's not El Cid, James but the amalgamation of a sword and sandals epic with a quaint, old fashioned women's name in the title is a problem.

Even if you know that this is a harrowing account of a Balkan war atrocity, you instinctively expect something light-hearted: an Alan Bennett monologue for Thora Hird, perhaps.

Aida (Djuricic) is a translator for the UN force outside Srebenica in 1995, trying to save her family as the Dutch soldiers in blue helmets wilt before the might of General Mladic. (Isakovic)

They effectively turn a blind eye to the Serbian massacre of unarmed Bosnian men, often within sight of the base. Sorry for giving away the ending.

Alhough it opens with the standard, "based on a true story..." disclaimer, this is a film you trust completely. Even so, it's a grisly business herding the actors and extras through these events. Could we not be trusted to understand the human tragedy via a thorough documentary on the topic?

It's a decent, commendable film that still embodies the unspeakable nature of the re-enactment of unspeakable deeds.