The Forgiveness of Blood (12A)

 

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The Independent Culture

Film of the week by a long chalk is Joshua Marston's sombre and gripping drama of family honour. Set in semirural Albania, it examines the changing fortunes of two siblings, 17-year-old Nik and his 15-year-old sister Rudina, both approaching maturity at different speeds.

When a local land dispute ends with their father accused of murder and on the run, the family is ensnared in a blood feud. By the ancient Balkan code of the Kanun, Nik is forced into isolation, forbidden to leave his own house on pain of death. (Blood feuds may last years without resolution).

Obliged to support the family in the absence of menfolk, Rudina takes over her father's delivery business and proves herself, in contrast, resourceful and spirited.

The glimpse into a centuries-old community and a system of justice would be fascinating in itself, but the life of Marston's film resides in the brooding inner dramas of brother and sister. They are beautifully played by Tristan Halilaj and Sinsi Lacej, neither of whom had ever acted before.

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