The Forgiveness of Blood (2011, Joshua Marston)

“A poignant tale of the clash between the dreams of a youthful modernity and the strictures of ancient custom,” says Criterion. I guess Albanian blood feuds are interesting and worth making a movie about, but I mostly found this a dimly-lit slog. Poor young Nik is confined to the house – potentially for years – because his uncle killed the neighbor. At the end Nik cuts a deal with the neighbors, is allowed to leave and never return. Criterion again: “but [Marston] never lets us forget that many others in the world are caught in the exact same struggles.”

Marston’s second feature after Maria Full of Grace. His third premiered at Sundance the day after I watched this, about a man “moving to a new state with his wife for her graduate program.” I can’t relate. This won prizes in Berlin alongside The Turin Horse, A Separation, Sleeping Sickness. Cinematographer Rob “Tom” Hardy got attention this year for shooting Ex Machina and Testament of Youth. See also: Life During Wartime, the other forgiveness movie I watched this week.

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