Hive – Film Review

Based on true events.

Kumrije Hoxha, Yllka Gashi, Adriana Matoshi, Molikë Maxhuni, 
Blerta Ismaili, Valire, Haxhijaj Zeneli.
Photo by Alexander Bloom. 
Courtesy of Zeitgeist Films in association with Kino Lorber

Taking place after the events of the war in Kosovo, Hive tells the story of Fahrije (Yllka Gashi), a mourning woman looking to start a business to provide for her family and fill the hole her missing husband has left behind. As she ventures down this path, she is met with opposition by the strongly patriarchal village and must prove to them, as well as herself, that she has what it takes to stand on her own.

What stood out immediately to me about this film was writer and director Blerta Basholli’s care and attention to the overall message of the film. Hive is very much a story about perseverance and the determination needed to stand against the (rusty) chains that shackle humans to outdated worldviews. It’s a love letter to empowerment and leaves a potent message about how we treat those around us. Basholli’s vision was perfectly realized here. The writing is direct yet deep in cultural subtext and pairs wonderfully with the intimate direction from Basholli and cinematography by Alex Bloom. The two (Basholli and Bloom) worked well together by creating the historic time and space that focused not just on one woman’s journey but on all of the women during this time. It was well thought out and resulted in an emotional storytelling experience.

Naturally, this film would not have been what it was without the standout performance by Yllka Gashi. Gashi’s performance is the definition of nuance and this film would not have been what it was without it. From tender, dramatic scenes to moments of pure happiness, Gashi delivers it all in a package that you didn’t know you needed. There is no denying that her performance here will resonate with women, and anyone for that matter, across the world and she deserves every praise for it.

Hive deserves the praise that it has received and the praise it has yet to receive. Reverent performances and beautiful storytelling set this film apart and is a must-watch for anyone who needs a little spark to ignite their fire.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewed November 29, 2021 (screener provided by distributor). Rating: TBC. Running time: 84 min. 

PRODUCTION: A Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber distribution of a Ikone Studio and Industria Film production and Alva Film, AlbaSky Film, and Black Cat Production co-production. Producers: Valon Bajgora, Agon Uka, and Yll Uka. Co-producers: Kristijan Burovski, Britta Rindelaub, Tomi Salkovski, and Paskal Semini. 

CREW: Director/Writer: Blerta Basholli. Editing: Félix Sandri and Enis Saraçi. Cinematography: Alex Bloom. Music: Julien Painot.

CAST: Yllka Gashi, Çun Lajçi, Aurita Agushi, Kumrije Hoxha, Adriana Matoshi, Molikë Maxhuni, Blerta Ismaili, Kaona Sylejmani, Mal Noah Safqiu, Xhejlane Terbunja.

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