Nik is seventeen and is in his last year at high school in northern Albania. Something of a go-getter, Nik has decided that, as soon as he has his school graduation in his hands, he wants to open an internet café. He has also recently started having feelings for girls – and has fallen in love with a girl in his class at school. Nik’s sister Rudina is fifteen; she too has a clear idea of what she wants from life and dreams of attending university.
But then their family becomes embroiled in a fight over ownership of some land and their father is accused of murder. All at once, Nik and Rudina find themselves drawn into a terrible vendetta.
According to dictates of the Kanun, Albania’s centuries-old traditional laws, none of the family’s male members – not even their young seven-year-old brother – may leave the house. As long as their father is hiding in the mountains and Nik is prevented from showing his face in public, the family has to rely on Rudina, who is now obliged to leave school and take over her father’s affairs. The young girl clearly begins to flourish as a result of her new responsibility; her brother however feels nothing but anger and frustration as a result of his isolation. Somehow Nik has to put an end to this blood feud – even if it costs him his life. –Berlinale
I liked it, despite my complete lack of knowledge on the subject matter of albanian blood feuds. The realist style an interesting choice, but the one question I wish it answered was why this tradition is still in practice today? But it seems that the focus of the film was the toll this takes on the members of the family more than anything else.
Disappointing, rather lifeless take on an intriguing and fullblooded subject-matter from a culture most of us know little or nothing about. But there is one lovely, transcendent moment, where the girl bows her head in a lovely, shy moment when alone with Nik -for the briefest glimmer she transforms the humdrum film into a Rembrandt painting.
“We sort of do the lineup by the seat of our pants.”
Also: A severely botched screening of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.
Honor is everything in the Iran of Asghar Farhadi's Nader and Simon, a Separation and the Albania of Joshua Marston's The Forgiveness of