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130. Zana; movie review

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Title : 130. Zana; movie review
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Cert 15
97 mins
BBFC advice: Contains sexual violence, strong bloody images, domestic abuse

Mrs W and I have often mused about what it would be like to lose a child and have concluded that it must be impossible to get over it.
The terrible sense of grief would be multiplied many times if the death had been violent.
This was at the forefront of our minds again while we watched Zana, a movie by director Antoneta Kastrati whose sister and mother were killed towards the end of the war in Kosovo.
Her own experiences have informed the story of Lume (Adriana Matoshi) who is under pressure to have a baby to replace the four-year-old who died during the war.
She is haunted by night terrors and is clearly suffering post-traumatic stress but elicits no sympathy from her mother-in-law (Fatmire Sahiti) who puts her under extreme pressure to become pregnant.
Indeed, she even turns the thumbscrews by bringing a potential second wife for Lume's husband (Astrit Kabashi) to their home.
Matoshi is excellent as Lume who rarely speaks as she is pushed unwillingly from doctor to psychic to faith healer in an attempt to treat her infertility.
However, the more she is forced to try to put another child in her daughter's stead, the more the traumas of war torment her.
This even prompts the fear that she is possessed by evil spirits.
As said, Kastrati's own grief is imprinted on this movie - she understands the personal loss and that of the tight-knit poor rural people who suffered much during the conflict.
She demonstrates how bereavement affects people in different ways and how ploughing on is the answer many seem to have.
Zana is not high on action but it is keen on observation - we were left with an intimate knowledge of the structures of a Kosovan village and the very traditional beliefs.
But mostly, we were left to empathise with the poor woman who sees no way out of her permanent state of distress.

Reasons to watch: Very well observed and acted
Reasons to avoid: Low on action

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 8/10

Did you know? A
fter the war in Kosovo, a list was compiled which documented that over 13,500 people were killed or went missing during the two-year conflict. The Yugoslav and Serb forces caused the displacement of between 1.2 million to 1.45 million Kosovo Albanians.

The final word: Antoneta Kastrati: "I was 18 during the war in Kosovo, living in my village with my family. Two days before the war ended, my mother and my sister were killed.  A mother now, myself, the question which has kept coming back to me is who we are as women besieged by post-war trauma and the existential dilemma of motherhood in a society where deep-rooted patriarchal beliefs make healing harder by limiting women's choices." 

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