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... Read allHaunted 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.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.
Powerful portrayal of patriarchalism and wounds of war
Zana is a powerful film from Antoneta Kastrati, director whose films need to be followed. Few war inspired films nowadays are able to escape the unnecessary melodrama and a approach that basically forces the audiences into feeling sorry for the victims. Zana is not one of those films. Starting from masterful acting by the best of Kosovo's acting community, to an elaborate and powerful cinematography, and the haunting sound score, Zana feels like matured and precise filmmaking, which is surprising considering Zana is the first feature film by Kastrati. Using the Kosovo war as a backdrop to the story, Zana in essence speaks about the pressure of patriarchal values against the female protagonist. This is un-mistakenly a personal film for Kastrati, as she informs at the end credits that her mother and sister were victims of the Kosovo war. Her previous films, short and docs, all dealt directly and indirectly with effects of the conflict. Zana is a culmination of those efforts, professionally and masterfully put together by a wide team of talented professionals. Because it is personal, Kastrati, through the subtle yet emotional performance of Adriana Matoshi, puts us inside the head of the female protagonist. Other actors also very good at providing a picture and emotions of living a village life, with all the challenges, cries, laughter and every day monotony and suffering in a village struck by the devastation of a war. However, this is by far a personal story of the female protagonist, and the entire film and her world is viewed from her perspective entirely. In addition to being informative on personal effects of the Kosovo war, and how women continue to be perpetual victims of it to this day, Zana feels cathartic. I was honored to see the film in its premiere in Prishtina. The audience was shaken to the core, barely able to give an applause to the present film team afterwards. There were people crying and shaken in the corridors, a testament to the sincerity and strength of this film. The acting play of the local healer, played incredibly by one of the best actors in Kosovo is Mensur Safqiu is a performance worth of multiple awards and is timeless in its nature. Another aspect of the film is very personal and beautiful cinematography, which allowed actors to show their skills and haunting locations to show their strength. And finally, the sound and music composed (Albanian-German band Andrra) adds the necessary emotional layer to the film, without being "in your face" too much. All in all, Zana can be easily said to be the best and most powerful of Kosovo's cinema, putting Kastrati firmly into the generation who will lead the New Kosovo Cinema Wave. A must see film for everyone.
- Sep 23, 2019
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