Bosnian film on Srebrenica genocide wins Oscar nomination

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Bosnian director Zbanic poses with her Golden Berlin Bear after the awarding ceremony at the 56th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - "Quo Vadis, Aida?", a Bosnian film about the Srebrenica genocide, was one of five films on Monday to land an Academy Award nomination in the international feature film category for this year's Oscars.

In the film, director Jasmila Zbanic depicts the lead-up to the massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces through the eyes of a female interpreter working at the United Nations base in Srebrenica, a town in eastern Bosnia.

The interpreter, Aida, played by Serbian actress Jasna Djuricic, is struggling to save her husband and two sons amid the confusion and impotence of the U.N. officials as the Bosnian Serb forces of General Ratko Mladic advance.

In 2017, the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague jailed Mladic for life over the Srebrenica genocide.

"People who had no knowledge of Srebrenica before (and now see this film) will never be able to forget what happened, and this is extremely important," Zbanic told the radiosarajevo.ba portal on Sunday.

"Through interviews, I am trying to draw attention to the fact that more than 1,000 people from Srebrenica are still unaccounted for. Many Aidas are alive today waiting for the day when they will recognise the bones and bury their children."

The president of the Srebrenica mothers' association, Munira Subasic, echoed Zbanic's comment.

"The Oscar nomination is very important because for the past 26 years we have been searching for the truth and waiting for justice," said Subasic, who lost a son and husband in the massacre along with 22 other close relatives.

The Oscars, the highest honours in the movie industry, will be handed out on April 25 at a ceremony in California. Bosnian director Danis Tanovic won an Oscar for the best foreign film in 2002 with "No Man's Land".

Zbanic won a Golden Bear award in Berlin in 2006 for her feature "Grbavica", which dealt with the impact of the violent breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s on Bosnian society.

"Quo Vadis, Aida?" has also been nominated this year for the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) in the best non-English film category, and Zbanic has been nominated for best director.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Gareth Jones)