|A Family Blood Feud.|
In Albania you are socially obligated to kill another person to save the honor questioned by a murder or moral humiliation of a fellow family member. Since the collapse of communism in 1992 there has been a revival in this 500-year-old blood feud known as Gjakmarrja. Believe it or not there are strict rules on how this is carried out forbidding the revenge killings of women, children or elderly persons. This rather brutal form of retribution is the subject of American screenwriter and director Joshua Marston’s latest feature film The Forgiveness of Blood (2012). Until this movie he was probable best known for 2004’s Maria Full of Grace a hard-hitting story about a pregnant Colombian teenager who becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family.
|A Brother and sister's lives are affected by their elders actions.|
Typically the story of a family blood feud would be told through the principal’s involved, usually the adult males of each family, but in Marston’s film the story is told through the eyes of the 17 year old Nik, who has to leave his school and his friends and accept a type of indefinite house arrest, and his younger sister Rudina who takes over the running of the family business, both of whom had plans for the future’s until their father and uncle are involved in the fatal stabbing of a neighbour over a quarrel involving land rights.
Set in a rural village in the District of Shkoder one of the most ancient and historic places in Albania with a script that was developed by the director and his co-writer Albanian filmmaker Andamion Murataj over a period of time from extensive personal interviews carried out in the region. Aided and abetted by a very high standard of acting by the mainly non-professional cast it gives the viewer a sense of the authenticity of the situation that the family find themselves in. A solid well-told story that with the help of British cinematographer Rob Hardy gives us a deep appreciation of a country divided by their old and modern ways of life.