In the remote highlands of Albania, an 18-year-old girl is shot dead in a bitter family feud. While the Kanun—an age-old tribal code that was partly revived in this region after the fall of Communism—permits violent retribution, it also offers an alternative route. The bishop and the chair of the NGO Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation both urge the grieving father to take the second option.
In this, her first long documentary, which won Best Balkan Documentary at DokuFest Kosovo, Marija Zidar shows how challenging it is to get past pride, sorrow, and rage to break the chain of conflict—especially when the two sides have such differing interpretations of the matter.
Zidar frames this situation in scenes that speak volumes without words, with shots of the majestic landscape, of children watching, of the father carrying a commemorative cross to the grave, and intimate close-ups of the people involved. The mother stays silent while the men deliberate. It’s no great leap to see this feud as a microcosm of the great conflicts around the globe.