Haunted by her long suppressed past and pressured by family to seek treatment from mystical healers for her infertility, a Kosovar woman struggles to reconcile the expectations of motherhood with a legacy of wartime brutality.
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A lonely boy, who lives in Amsterdam with his refugee mother from Kosovo, keeps getting into trouble while yearning for her acceptance. But the traumas caused by the war, which his mother hides away from him, turn his world upside down.
Jason de Ridder,
In Kosovo, it is said that every mountain has its own Zana bathing in freshwater streams. These mystical creatures can heal, bestow bountiful gifts, and act as guardians to children who dare enter the woods. In a Kosovar village amid this shadowy world, Lume (Adriana Matoshi), an Albanian woman, lives with her husband Ilir (Astrit Kabashi) and mother-in-law Remzije (Fatmire Sahiti). Having lost her only child a decade earlier in the war, Lume is haunted by night terrors and unable to conceive. Desperate to fill a void, her family pressures her to seek magical healers to treat her infertility. When Lume resists, Remzije brings an eager, younger prospective wife to the home. Under threat of being replaced, Lume abandons modern medicine and agrees to explore traditional practices. But old traumas slowly rise to torment Lume. When Remzije catches her sleepwalking to a feared witch doctor, extreme measures are taken to protect the pending fetus from evil.Written by
Toronto International Film Festival
Well-crafted, Enthralling Exploration of the Wounds of War
Zana are mysterious beings from the forest who heal those who connect with them. Having lost a child in the recent war and haunted by nightmares of the experience, Lume is hesitant to bring another child into the world. Her husband and his mother put constant and extreme pressure on Lume to bear another child. They blame Lume and accuse her of being cursed. If only they or someone could help Lume with heartbreak.
Zana is dedicated to the mother and sisters the director lost in the war and drawn from Antoneta's own experiences. Antoneta also interviewed Albanian women whose experiences followed similar patterns. In exploring wounds of war Zana avoids the easy answers and the macho attitudes that make it harder for women to heal. Antoneta hopes to start conversations about the war and help women to talk about what they conceal inside. This is not the sole reason to see Zana, it is also a beautiful, jarring and well-crafted film. Though it is from a new director, actors, filmmakers and country, it is polished and enthralling. Seen at the Toronto international film festival.
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