26 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Writer/director: Blerta Basholli, Icon Film Distribution.

Based on a true story, Hive tells of feminist resistance and an opportunity to ameliorate.

The husband of Fahrije Hoti (portrayed by Yllka Gashi) has been missing since the war in Kosovo and she has been hearing some familiar words every day ever since she got a driver’s licence and started to provide for her children.

“A widow should only do housework, respect her in-laws and stay at home.” It was time for her to rebel – now.

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 that expects her to fail.

An Albanian award-winning actress, this is Yllka Gashi’s debut as a lead actress. As a one-time refugee, Yllka served both as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and Artist Ambassador for Save the Children in Kosovo. She immigrated to the United States in 2015 and had her American stage debut in May 2018 in an off-Broadway hit show Women on Fire-Stories from the frontline.

Director Basholli’s film is an unsparing portrait of a survivor who refuses to bend to ancient traditions.

As far as feature film stories go, this Albanian drama is as good as it gets.

Award-winning Basholli has a unique realistic visual style. Her stories touch upon social and gender issues from the country where she was born and raised, Kosovo.

Hive won three awards at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Dramatic category: The Audience Award, Directing Award and the Grand Jury Prize. Hive is also Kosovo’s official entry for the Oscars’ international feature category.

  • Hive is screening nationally in theatres.

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