Zana weaves a tale set in the aftermath of the Kosovo war but transcends time, politics. and geography. It is a stunning portrayal of the depths and nuances of trauma and grief. The external constraints of an overtly patriarchal society serve as both a literal telling of a grieving woman's alienation and entrapment while also metaphorically capturing the inescapability of pervasive grief. It haunts and possesses its host. Lume, the protagonist in Zana, portrayed exquisitely by Adriana Matoshi, struggles to exist after unthinkable loss (no spoilers), but her real battle registers more so as a battle against others' expectations of her than her own inherent desire to "move on." She does not seek to move on. She does not seek to fully integrate in this new world that proceeds without her loved one. Anyone who has experienced loss can relate to this, the discomfort that others carry and project. Their well meaning wishes butting up against the rebellious longing to hold on, to preserve the relevance and value of the deceased. Zana uses culturally significant devices and context specific to Kosovo (witch doctors, animals, war) to render both an historically accurate depiction but also incredibly subtle metaphors that pack visceral punches. This is not a fast film, there are so many moments of noticing - stunning landscapes, skin texture, complex emotions dancing behind the eyes of the characters. Levity breaks through at just the right moments, as in real life, it's never all drama...survival requires and manufactures lightness and laughter. With Zana, her first feature length film, director Antoneta Kastrati is brave, not just in funneling her own personal loss into storytelling (she lost her mother and sister in the war), not just in trusting that a female protagonist's gut churning journey is enough to carry the film, but in allowing Lume to win in the most unexpected way and on her own terms.