ZGJOI

Kosovo, Switzerland, North Macedonia, Albania

Synopsis

Fahrije’s husband has been missing since the war in Kosovo, and along with their grief, her family is struggling financially. In order to provide for them she launches a small agricultural business, but in the traditional patriarchal village where she lives, her ambition and efforts to empower herself and other women are not seen as positive things. She struggles not only to keep her family afloat but also against a hostile community which is rooting for her to fail.

Director's Statement

“A widow should only do house work, respect her in-laws and stay at home”

These were the words Fahrije Hoti heard everyday as soon as she got a driving license and started to provide for her kids, having lost her husband during the last war in Kosovo.
I was sitting at my apartment in Brooklyn, NY, trying to finish writing my school exercises while I was listening to a TV Show from Kosovo. A woman was talking about her getting a driving license and the whole village gossiping how she humiliated her family.

At first I thought it was a joke. It was funny yet very sad, hard and motivating. Fahrije Hoti, a widow, mother of two, had to do something to survive, and she did. She got a driving license and got a job. Everyone talked and went crazy but she did it. One day she opened a business where she employed other widows and now she produces pickled vegetables sold all around Kosovo.

Besides being a woman and a mother myself, I was intrigued a lot by her will and power to survive and never look back. Her positivity and energy are fascinating. That is something I want to bring on screen, a strong female character full of colours, a woman protagonist that needs to be seen by Kosovo and a wider audience. Her decision to continue with her life no matter what was confusing, painful, sometimes even funny, but deeply inspiring.

She accepted to write the script based on her life story and I believe this personal experience of hers can become universal and compelling to a wide audience. It is a Kosovan authentic story and a woman’s challenge in the society - both make the film more powerful and more emotional for all kinds of people.

While the story is quite painful and sad, it is also very empowering, it is about beginnings, change, and how funny life can be in the most serious moments. A human story of Fahrije and the widows that work with her in trying to built their life, the new one.

Director's Biography

Blerta Basholli is a writer/director with a unique realistic visual style. Her stories touch upon social and gender issues from the country where she was born and raised, Kosovo and beyond. In 2008 she was awarded with the Deans Fellowship at the Film Graduate Program at Tisch School of the Arts – NYU. She lived in New York City for four years where she had the opportunity to work on several film projects as a student. In 2011, she returned to her birthplace, Prishtina, Kosovo, where she wrote/directed and worked on many short and feature films.

FILMOGRAPHY:
2021 - HIVE
2013 - THIRD ENTRANCE, short
2012 - THE THREE OF US, short
2010 - LENA & ME, short
2008 - GJAKOVA 726, short, co-directed & written with Artan Korenica
2006 - MIRROR, MIRROR, short
2004 - WEAPONS AT HAND, short
 | 

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Blerta Basholli

Written by: Blerta Basholli

Produced by: Yll Uka, Valon Bajgora, Agon Uka

Cinematography: Alex Bloom

Editing: Enis Saraçi, Félix Sandri

Production Design: Vlatko Chachorovski

Costume Design: Hana Zeqa, Fjorela Mirdita

Make-Up & Hair: Fiona Abdullahu

Original Score: Julien Painot

Sound: Philippe Ciompi

Casting: Blerta Basholli

Main Cast: Yllka Gashi (Fahrije), Çun Lajçi (Haxhi), Aurita Agushi (Zamira), Kumrije Hoxha (Nazmije), Adriana Matoshi (Lume)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2021