The Forgiveness of Blood Reviews
"The Forgiveness of Blood" is not so much suspenseful, as it is filled with dread, proving that in a state of siege you don't need zombies or Daleks to pull it off. And in most scenarios like this, the movie would belong to Nik but surprisingly not in this case, as while he certainly has a right to complain about a situation that could possibly drag on for years and not of his own making, he is also more than a little petulant at the same time, even managing to make matters worse at one point.(To the movie's vast credit, it does not show the central incident, not allowing the viewer to assign blame, even though otherwise we see events almost exclusively from the point of view of Mark's family.) No, it is Rudina who rises to the occasion, even showing some serious entrepreneurial skills. That works in favor of the movie gently subverting the patriarchy, this one in Albania where horsecarts and smart phones co-exist on unpaved roads.
Do we give in to our core selfishness and call it "freedom", or do we sacrifice our individuality for the honor and well being of our family and community? Are our values those of the brash and compulsive Nik or of the quietly selfless Rudina? Is the blood feud one unfortunate aspect of a richly textured traditional Albanian identity, or do we abandon it for a superficial new world of western market economy and its equally harsh set of rules? Marston skillfully presents each perspective yet does not pass judgement.
Sindi Lacej is particularly effective as Rudina; she shines her special light on another layer of this film, the relative value modern Albanian culture continues to place on male and female children.
Marston has followed "Maria Full of Grace" with another minor masterpiece!