The Forgiveness of Blood | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 109 minutes · 2012

Joshua Marston's follow-up to Maria Full of Grace (2004) lacks his debut feature's sense of momentum and urgency; it's intelligent, well-intentioned, and largely inert. A teenage brother and sister in rural Albania are left to deal with the repercussions after their father kills another man in an argument and flees; the sister is forced to take over the family's bread delivery route, while the brother hides out in fear of a revenge killing. Marston, bringing an outsider's eye to the terrain, packs the film with intriguing observations about machismo, gender roles, customs, and technology. But without any sustained tension, the movie's creeping violence and alienation feel unmotivated; whenever Marston manages to find a rhythm—as he does in the climax—it only makes the rest of the movie seem more disjointed. In Albanian with subtitles.
Director: Joshua Marston
Cast: Tristan Halilaj, Refet Abazi, Veton Osmani, Elsajed Tallalli, Sindi Lacej, Selman Lokaj, Zana Hasaj, Erjon Mani, Luan Jaha and Çun Lajçi

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