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This week at the Kino: Flops, lakes & British Shorts

Our film editor picks two unmissable summer festivals, interviews director Jasmila Žbanić and reviews an underwhelming do-over from DC.

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Quo Vadis, Aida?, the masterful new film by Jasmila Žbanić. Photo: Farbfilm Verleih

Many of you will be gearing up to watch The Suicide Squad, the latest DC blockbuster which comes out today. It sees Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn take over the wounded IP, following 2016’s catastrophically poor Suicide Squad. Does the added definite article help matters? We didn’t think so…

You’re much better off seeking out Quo Vadis, Aida?, arguably one of the best films you’ll see this year. It’s a harrowing achievement from Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanić, who chronicles the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre through the eyes of a translator working for the United Nations. The film premiered in Competition at last year’s Venice Film Festival to wide acclaim and went on to become Bosnia and Herzegovina’s entry for 2021’s Best International Feature Oscar. It sadly lost out to the thoroughly entertaining Another Round, but there’s little doubt that this deeply empathetic drama is the stronger film. Trust us – you won’t want to miss this one.

We had the pleasure of talking to Jasmila Žbanić about Quo Vadis, Aida?, the difficulties of making a film about an atrocity which is still denied by many to this day, and how the pandemic allowed the film to bypass censorship.

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The Long Goodbye, starring Riz Ahmed, screening at the British Shorts Film Festival tonight. Photo: British Shorts

On the events front, we’ve got two stellar tips for you.

The first is this weekend’s Lakeside Film Festival. For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure, it’s an open-air film festival located in the Brandenburg countryside near the Polish border and close to, as you may have guessed, a lake. Two cinema stages screen new releases and cult classics, as well as specially curated gems from the Sundance Shorts programme and the Down Under Film Festival. It’s easily reachable by train (the nearest station is Grunow), so don’t miss out on this year’s festivities, which include screenings of the majestic First Cow, this year’s Berlinale winner, and a 20th-anniversary showing of Donnie Darko. Head to their website for more details and make sure you pack your camping gear (as well as a Covid-19 test or your vaccination pass, natürlich).

Our second recommendation is the reliably brilliant British Shorts Film Festival, which returns to big screens – both outdoor and indoor – today until August 11. After a seven-month delay and two postponements, this year’s 14th edition boasts an eclectic programme that features too many standouts to mention. We still gave it a go: you can read our full festival preview here.

Who says we can’t have nice things (near lakes or in short packages) in 2021?