The best films of 2021: 1

The best films of 2021: 1

Large-scale tragedy is made intimate in an astonishing movie from Jasmila Žbanić

Quo Vadis, Aida? is our top film of the year

Unforgettable is the word that springs to mind when describing Bosnian filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić's sensitive and cinematically shrewd take on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Filtering this real-life, large-scale tragedy through a narrow, more intimate lens, the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated Quo Vadis, Aida? documents the plight of a fictional family who are fighting tooth-and-nail to survive, with events loosely based on the experiences of Hasan Nuhanović.

At the centre of the story is estimable matriarch and UN translator Aida Selmanagić (the mesmeric Jasna Ɖjuričić) who attempts to use her position to save her husband and sons as the Bosnian Serb army, led by Boris Isaković's monstrous general Ratko Mladić, approaches. As the town's residents hole up in a UN base under the feeble protection of the Dutchbat peacekeepers, Žbanić utilises thriller conventions to ratchet up the tension and put us firmly in her heroine's shoes, whilst shining an insightful light on a terrible episode from history.

Honourable mentions go to: The Father, Titane, Raya And The Last Dragon, In The Heights, The Many Saints Of Newark, Candyman, The Reason I Jump, Passing, The Hand Of God, The Suicide Squad. And, of course, No Time To Die for getting all-important bums on cinema seats.