Kosovo’s submission for the Foreign Language Film Oscar is an LGBTQIA-themed drama, and a big hit

Posted on November 29, 2018

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/kosovos-submission-for-best-foreign-language-film-oscar-is-an-lgbtq-themed-drama-and-a-big-hit-5631551.html

Kosovo is a small country of 1.8 million inhabitants. It now produces up to three or four feature films a year. The source of this information is Blerta Zeqiri, the  Kosovar director/scriptwriter, whose Martesa (The Marriage), is Kosovo’s candidate for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Zeqiri answered some questions I sent over email. She said Martesa is the first ever LGBT live action feature made in Kosovo. “We had a feature documentary on gays called Beyond the Rainbow, and another short that has qualified for the Oscars this year.” I also watched a screener, and the basic plot is this: In the lead-up to Bekim (Alban Ukaj) and Anita’s (Adriana Matoshi) wedding, Bekim’s friend and former gay lover, Nol (Genc Salihu), returns from abroad. And…

Martesa is the second LGBTQIA-themed drama from a smaller filmmaking nation I saw this year, after  Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki (Friend; in English and Swahili, and the first film from Kenya to be screened at Cannes). To a liberal audience from a big city, Rafiki’s delicately handled romance — a Juliet and Juliet template — may not exactly be revelatory. But this is a small town where gossip is thick and the church holds a firm sway, with exorcism-like rituals to “cleanse” homosexuals. (The film has been banned in its home country.) When a lynch mob descends on the achingly young couple, I was reminded of India, where your business is everybody’s business.

Continued at the link above.

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