An Albanian family is torn apart by a murder, resulting in a blood feud that finds Nik becoming the prime target and his sister, Rudina, forced to leave school in order to take over the family business
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Thomas Bo Larsen,
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
This film's center is a family in Albania. The main characters are Rudina, the oldest daughter, and Nik, the oldest son. Both have a pretty normal life. Rudina is an A-student in high-school and Nik very popular. He just fell in love with one of his fellow students. Their father earns the families income with a little bread delivery service. For that he uses a short cut through the neighbours ground, but the neighbour doesn't necessarily like that. But the ground had actually belonged to Rudina's and Nik's family once. One day the conflict escalates and the neighbour gets killed by Rudina's and Nik's father and their uncle. Because only their uncle gets caught by the police and their father is able to hide, the old law of blood feud is against the family. They cannot leave their house. Only the women of the family are allowed to leave the house. So Rudina has to quit school and continue the bread delivery service of the father, so the family can survive. The situation is tense as ... Written by
Good movie, decent acting, flaws in camera and scripting
The movie is somehow good but I had some concerns. The good part is that the movie create a full story, the scenes are mostly connected and the viewer can follow. Second, the actors are not famous Albanian actors, which makes the film more realistic. Third, local dialect was used, adding still some realism (many Albanian movies create surreal literal scripts with little connection to everyday life). Let's come to the critiques.
My concerns are basically assumed in one phrase: "the film is tight". It doesn't change camera lenses, it lacks wide shots of the village to add a spatial sense between scenes. It all happens in three buildings and few streets. All this can easily find a reason in budget limits, but I guess the film could be enriched visually with a little more effort.
Another limit was in the script. The film starts and ends without nobody explaining what is the kanun or besa. Foreign viewers would only guess what is going on, but also many Albanians don't know the rules. Leaving things unexplained makes the viewer nervous. Take a look to the review before mine. There is a long introduction to explain what the movie should have mostly told. This is not a good sign. A movie should speak for itself leaving little space to reviewers for their stories. We have to imagine that a wide public will see this film. And many may give bad ratings because they didn't read Wikipedia to prepare themselves for the movie. This part could have been fixed by adding short scenes of a child asking "Why do we have to stay closed, what is the kanun", "What is BESA, can we have some more of it (laughter)". An adult could have explained what the viewer needed to know. And this would be a real situation because a 5 years old child doesn't stay locked at home without asking why.
From what I see there is still some confusion about the concept of BESA. This is not a honor code to be proud, its part of the rules in the kanun (like today's laws). Simply speaking, it's an armistice. The family which have been damaged gives to the family that damaged them the right to get out of home without risking to be killed. Since this agreement was verbal, Albanians say they have a tradition in keeping promises. However, this is not a promise but a rule. If a family broke their promise there would be serious consequences from the kanun rules itself.
My last concern was the color black. I don't know for what reason the color black was a dark gray. Since the movie have a lot of dark scenes, this was quite noticeable. I thought the problem was the cinema, but then I remembered the trailer on youtube suffering of the same problem.
Despite my critiques, a big thanks is due to the producers and Marston, who spend time and effort to tell an Albanian story. I loved the part of his interview where he says that he tried to find a story that hasn't been seen before. Something interesting in a topic otherwise well known to the public (revenge and feuds).
17 of 26 people found this review helpful.
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