Director: Blerta Basholli
Talent: Yllka Gashi
Released: March 18
Hive is the true story of success amidst great struggle. After the 1999 Kosovo War, Fahrije Hoti (played impeccably by Yllka Gashi) is attempting to make something of her life in the war-torn village of Krushë e Madhe. For the village and Fahrije, forever frozen in time to a backdrop of immense suffering and heartbreak, the unknown whereabouts of her missing husband and many other men, is a sadness that permeates every day of their life
Led by Fahrije, the women of the village eventually band together to support each other spiritually as well as financially and decide to set up a collective. They will make and sell jars of ajvar, a condiment made from sweet bell peppers, in addition to the honey Fahrije already produces and sells.
But there is enormous pushback and astonishing levels of patriarchal control and misogyny long entrained in the cultural fabric of rural Albania that rise to the surface. The community at large baulk at the breaking of any tradition. This is a world where a woman can’t drive a car or hold a job without an eruption of town gossip and everything is decided by a stubborn, narrow-minded, male inner sanctum.
It’s both frustrating and fascinating being thrown into such an old world dilemma like this in 2022. It’s an anxiety inducing film in some ways knowing how much resistance there is, that so many people are willing to sabotage or harm you, your produce and prospects.
Throughout, Yllka Gashi is impressive and unblinking as a quiet and careful character, a brooding presence, determined and driven by desperation. Her persistence and ingenuity is admirable and make for a likeable character we can all root for. We’ve seen elements of this film many times before but it’s a remarkable story nonetheless, told with a delicate touch by first time director Blerta Basholli.
Words: Shane O’Reilly