Grief-stricken Fahrije (Yllka Gashi) sets out on a journey in search of something. She walks into a tent, unzips a string of body bags, and inspects a collection of decayed remains that are now beyond recognition. It is only after she heads back home to join her children and father-in-law that the reasons behind her search become clear: Fahrije’s long-lost husband disappeared during the Kosovo war and reality has hit her hard that he may not be coming back.
Interestingly enough, Fahrije does not allow past events to knock her back, determined to carve out a future of her own. Director Blerta Basholli, who also penned the screenplay, gives her protagonist a strong sense of purpose. Pushing all patriarchy pride aside, she is a woman of strength and ingenuity, getting behind the wheel and gathering a group of women to help her make a red pepper paste she is adamant will get onto the supermarket shelves.
The camera is handheld, echoing the reality of the narrative, and it is almost always glued to Fahrije, observing her in her natural habitat. Though the plot is slow and monotonous at times, the conflict, such as an argument between mother and daughter that quickly turns nasty, creates a renewed sense of engagement between viewer and actor. Gashi is remarkable in her portrayal of a rebellious mother who knows right from wrong and will stop at nothing in pursuit of her ambitions.
Hive is released at Sundance Film Festival 2021 on 2nd February 2021.
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