An Albanian family is torn apart by a murder, resulting in a blood feud that makes eldest son Nik a prime target and forces his sister, eldest daughter Rudina, to leave school in order to take over the family business.
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This film centers on a family in Albania, with main characters Rudina, the oldest daughter, and Nik, the oldest son. Both have a pretty normal life. Rudina is an A-student in high school hoping to continue on at university; Nik, very popular, is just falling in love with a classmate while dreaming of opening a business with a friend. Their father earns the family's income through a little bread delivery service, for which he shortcuts across his neighbours' ground. The neighbour resents this, even though the ground had actually once belonged to Rudina's and Nik's family. One day the conflict escalates and the neighbour gets killed by Rudina's and Nik's father and their uncle. Because the police only catch their uncle while their father successfully goes into hiding, the old law of blood feud is invoked against the family, whereby all males enter into virtual house arrest. Since only the women of the family can leave, Rudina has to quit school to continue her father's bread delivery ... 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).
19 of 29 people found this review helpful.
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