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The Crack Magazine

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Hive

Director: Blerta Basholli

Stars: Yllka Gashi, Çun Lajçi, Kumrije Hoxha

This rousing debut feature from writer-director Blerta Basholli skilfully melds an inspirational feminist tale, based on a true story, to a realistically knotty depiction of the aftermath of war. During the 1998-1999 Kosovo war many women lost their husbands and partners. Fahrije (Gashi) is one such woman, living in rural Kosovo with her rebellious teenage daughter and younger son. She is also looking after her cantankerous wheelchair bound father-in-law (Lajçi). Struggling to get by on the pittance she receives from the Government, and the revenue generated by her missing husband’s beehives, she decides to start a pickled red pepper business, against the wishes of the other members of the household. Women going to work is still frowned on in this deeply patriarchal society and when she learns to drive, she gets a stone through her window for her trouble, while local men look on impassively. Still, with the valuable help of her laconic and irreverent older friend Naze (Hoxha), the business becomes a success and before long Fahrije has earned the grudging respect of locals and family members alike. Inspired by her determination, other village women are persuaded to join her venture. Basholli’s presentation is unfussy, and despite the upbeat trajectory, the director never downplays the seriousness of Fahrije’s situation. An early sequence has her picking through body bags looking for the remains of her missing husband.

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