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The Forgiveness of Blood (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (2011)

Refet Abazi , Tristan Halilaj , Joshua Marston  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Refet Abazi, Tristan Halilaj, Sindi Lacej, Ilire Vinca Celaj
  • Directors: Joshua Marston
  • Format: Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 16, 2012
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008MPQ0WM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,023 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, approved by producer Paul Mezey, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary featuring director and cowriter Joshua Marston
  • Two new video programs: Acting Close to Home, a discussion between Marston and actors Refet Abazi, Tristan Halilaj, and Sindi Laçej, and Truth on the Ground, featuring new and on-set interviews with Mezey, Abazi, Halilaj, and Laçej
  • Audition and rehearsal footage
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film writer Oscar Moralde

  • Editorial Reviews

    American director Joshua Marston broke out in 2004 with his jolting, Oscar-nominated Maria Full of Grace, about a young Colombian woman working as a drug mule. In his remarkable follow-up, The Forgiveness of Blood, he turns his camera on another corner of the world: contemporary northern Albania, a place still troubled by the ancient custom of interfamilial blood feuds. From this reality, Marston sculpts a fictional narrative about a teenage brother and sister physically and emotionally trapped in a cycle of violence, a result of their father’s entanglement with a rival clan over a piece of land. The Forgiveness of Blood is a tense and perceptive depiction of a place where tradition and progress have an uneasy coexistence, as well as a dynamic coming-of-age drama.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Blu-ray
    From the first lingering shot of the idyllic Albanian landscape, with majestic mountains in the background and windswept fields in the foreground, director Joshua Marston immerses the viewer in a powerful fictional tale about a very real issue -- the impact on the families who end up inheriting the "sins of the fathers" from violent blood feuds in one of the poorest European countries.

    The beginning of the story quickly sets up the jarring contradictions faced by contemporary Albanians -- horse-drawn carriages alongside motorized vehicles, livestock on the soccer fields, adults and elders clinging to ancient oral traditions while the younger generation is wrapped up in videogames, television, Internet-enabled computers, and handheld mobile devices.

    The greatest service Marston does is to shed light on this paradox as the Old clashes with the New, placing the seemingly unfathomable tradition of regulated blood feuds in human context. We see it played out to dramatic effect as a rivalry over land and access to a previously open road turns deadly. The key moment takes place off-camera, leaving it to our imaginations to determine whether it was truly an act of criminal murder or one of justifiable self defense. Emotions run high on both sides, so who is to blame and who is to be believed? The story is told through the eyes of young Nik, who must endure prolonged house arrest for what his father and uncle are accused of doing, and younger Rudina, who must become a primary income provider for her family, all of whom suddenly are tormented by an incident they neither participated in nor witnessed.
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    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Our Story Too November 1, 2012
    Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
    I ordered this film to try to understand more about the cultural background of a story from my own family lore. My grandmother told the story of "Zio Francesco" who was a shepherd in Calabria in the previous century. The local bandits (now they would be called organized crime) would come periodically to take one or two of his flock, but he was a poor man and the result was real hardship. Finally he informed the carabinieri (local police) where they could find the bandits. They escaped, and the man knew that he could no longer leave the house without being killed. So, each day, he would send his small son out with the sheep. One day there was a thick fog, and the boy was afraid, so the man went out hoping to be veiled by the fog. But the bandits caught him and burned him alive.
    Albania is the only country that codified in writing the ancient vendetta law, called the Kanon, but it held the force of custom through wide swaths of the Mediterranean. Before Albania was Communist, before it was Muslim, before it was Christian, the vendetta law ruled. When Albania fell to the Turks, many Albanians fled to Italy and settled in their own villages in Calabria. (My grandmother callled them the "Grecchi.") It was about that time or a little later that the Kanon was written down, back in Albania. I don't know whether the Italo-Albanians ever adopted the written Kanon, or if their customs have changed over the years. Under Communism, the Kanon was suppressed, but since the fall of Communism it has been brought back, though many question whether a custom that was suppressed that long can ever return exactly as it was. The movie belongs to this period, and that helps to explain why there are so many opinions expressed in the film about how the Kanon should be enforced.
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    4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Blood Feud November 14, 2012
    Format:DVD
    The concept of blood feuds between families evolving from incidences that in most societies would be handled by an impartial legal system is instead in many parts of the world handled by informal and traditional reparations ranging from money to another life to be taken. Such is the case in Albania, long known as the North Korea of Europe, where some families still utilize a Kanun of traditional oral laws to resolve disputes and save face (honor). That repute is rapidly changing as new generations embrace a more open and communicative society - yet, resistance, as to be expected, still exists from the elders. Thus is our story.

    The naturalistic acting which far exceeds what trained and experienced actors would have produced greatly enhances the believability of the story. That, coupled with fine cinematography and research, results in an engaging film experience.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating movie April 19, 2013
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
    It was fascinating to watch this movie and learn about vendetta's still going on, in remote Northern Albania. It was great to see how the old and the new connect in that part of the world. I was left thinking that these things will continue to exist for as long as the families who live there now continue to inhabit the area. It is the darker side to long histories and long memories. On the bright side the family dynamics were movingly beautiful and strong. It was en-lighting.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Held Captive by Ancient Customs April 8, 2013
    Format:DVD
    This foreign film is worth watching for a number of reasons. One, it is intelligently crafted around a very compelling story that covers an on-going land dispute between two families in rural Albania. As the plot thickens the viewer sees a little piece of ancient culture enacted with tragic consequences on the modern landscape. Everywhere there are signs of a country finally emerging from the dark ages led by youthful exuberance only to be stopped dead in their tracks by a bizarre practice from the past. While this is not the Albania of the Hoxha years, one might wonder how much has really changed. While cellphones, cars, electricity, television, computers and ambitions abound, there is still this little left-over from an earlier time: a blood-feud has ensued because someone has taken the law into their own hands and kill their neighbour's son over the right to road access through their disputed property. Two, this production focuses on the troubling relationships between the two disputing parties in a way that resembles a modern version of "Romeo and Juliet". The ancient demand for a blood atonement as a condition of forgiveness will end up destroying the dreams and aspirations of the next generation. The victims in this story will inevitably become the avenging victimizers. Permanent house arrest is the ultimate death sentence for anyone caught in this social trap. Three, this film does justice to passions and emotions flowing out of this deepening rift: alienation, distrust, despair, hatred, weariness, and hope are palpably etched into the faces and actions of all the family members. And, finally, I liked this work for how it showcases rural Albania as a land abounding in natural beauty, strange customs, enduring conflicts, new hopes, and terrible realities. For those who like to watch films that effectively portrays life with all its many cross-currents, this is one cinematic comedy you'll not want to miss.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    2.0 out of 5 stars While the landscape depicted here is beautiful, the human drama is...
    Joshua Marston, best known as the director of drug mule story MARIA FULL OF GRACE, gives us here a poignant depiction of blood feuds in northern Albania. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Christopher Culver
    3.0 out of 5 stars Editing and Characterization
    During its initial stages, the film had me hooked. Beautiful cinematography, intellectual themes, an education in Albanian customs, and solid acting. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Clayton
    2.0 out of 5 stars tedious direction
    Pathetic and contrived since the film starts, it leaves the viewer about as unsatisfied as eating at a fast food dump. Read more
    Published 5 months ago by Bartok Kinski
    5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
    This was a great body of work. The acting Writing. Directing and producing. Were all on point a true dipiction of what went on in Albania years ago and sometimes today
    Published 8 months ago by nikhaha
    5.0 out of 5 stars This Film by Joshua Marston Really Held My Attention
    I learned more from this film than I did with Maria Full of Grace, Marston's first film, because I have traveled and worked in Columbia and other Latin American countries. Read more
    Published 11 months ago by Zarathustra
    5.0 out of 5 stars A searing drama of the struggle between the Old and the New
    I thought Joshua Marston's 'Maria, full of Grace' was an excellent film and had made a note to see all his other films. Read more
    Published 12 months ago by Raghu Nathan
    4.0 out of 5 stars Blood Feud, Albanian Style
    This is an unusual film from Albania and it deals with a blood feud. It is about a pair of neighbouring families who live in a rural village, Mark is the patriarch of one family... Read more
    Published 14 months ago by Tommy Dooley
    4.0 out of 5 stars "Vestigial Medieval Coda"
    A subtitled drama of clannish taboos and sudden violence in the rural countryside of a little known Eastern European society. Read more
    Published 15 months ago by Cary B. Barad
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Move!
    I highly recommend this movie if you want to learn more about the Albanian people and the cultures they still hold on to.
    Published 15 months ago by Tony
    4.0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding film from Joshua Marston. "The Forgiveness of...
    Director Joshua Marsten may be known for directing many American drama series, but his 2004 Oscar-nominated film "Maria Full of Grace", caught the attention of many film critics... Read more
    Published 16 months ago by Dennis A. Amith (kndy)
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