Tag: blood feud

The Forgiveness of Blood

February 13th, 2012 — 7:29am


The Forgiveness of Blood- sp  This  film takes us  to a place in northern Albania about which we know very little. We see people living in a rural setting filled with horse drawn carts and pickup trucks but yet homes with satellite TV and the Internet as well as teenagers going to school and hanging out with cell phones. Then we are introduced to the existence of  a practice that has been in existence for at least a half of a millennium  of blood feuds that occur when someone has killed a person and revenge is exacted on the members of the murderers family by the dead person’s family.  This means that the males of the targeted family must stay hidden at home away from work or school or risk being killed. This leaves the wife and the daughters with the task of going to work. Although this form of justice takes place outside the nascent legal system of this former communist country, it can be modified by mutually agreed upon  mediator with a besa  (or truce) being arranged all under guidelines of some ancient set of oral rules passed down through the many generations. The story of how this phenomena was recognized by an American filmmaker who started off with no special connection to Albania and was turned into a script and then a movie is almost as interesting as the film  itself. Joshua Marston (director and writer of Maria Full of Grace) after hearing about these feuds decided to travel to Albania and try to make a movie about it. He made a connection with Andamion Murataj, an Albanian filmmaker living and working in New York for the past 15 years. They traveled to Albania, visiting as many people, families and schools to understand this widespread situation which has been still estimated to effect thousands of people in the last 20 years. They wrote a screenplay which shows their story through the eyes of an 18 year old boy who is  caught in the middle of such a feud when his father kills another man in a fight over the right to drive his horse pulled delivery truck over another man’s property. Many of the actors  especially the teenagers and younger siblings were chosen from improvised casting sessions in local schools. The resultant film is a very professional, realistic depiction  of the painful impact on the families of the  blood feud, especially on the children. The filmmakers tendency to linger on the experience that the targeted  family members were going through made you appreciate their despair although at times it seems that we were living through it in real time. Nevertheless, you come away from this movie moved and informed about an ancient practice that continues in modern times in a distant land. (2011)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Foreign

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