“The woman, Fahrije (Yllka Gashi), is looking for her husband, one of the missing, who disappeared years ago during the Kosovo War. Now, with her two children and a disabled father-in-law, she struggles to keep the family going. She labors with the beehives that her husband once managed, selling jars of honey at a local market. Sales are modest and sometimes close to nonexistent, but the bees are her only means of scraping together a meager living. Every so often, she meets up with a women’s collective whose members face the same hurdles under the unhelpful watch of the town’s men. And she keeps looking for her husband — a haunting, troubling phantom.
“A liberation story told with easy naturalism and broad political strokes, HIVE tracks Fahrije on her path to independence. (It’s based on the experiences of an Albanian Kosovo woman of the same name.) Like its protagonist, the movie is stern, direct and attentive to ordinary life. The writer-director Blerta Basholli doesn’t bludgeon you with the character’s miseries, or hold your emotions hostage. Fahrije isn’t lovable; sometimes she’s scarcely likable, which means she’s more of a human being than an emblem of virtuous suffering. She has her charms, though these tend to emerge in the intimacies she shares with her family and female friends like Naza (a piquant Kumrije Hoxha)…HIVE seizes and holds your interest simply through the drama created by sympathetic characters trying to surmount awful, unfair hurdles. Mostly, though, what holds you rapt is Gashi’s powerful, physically grounded performance, which lyrically articulates her taciturn character’s inner workings. Together, the performer and her director reveal the arc of a life through Fahrije’s gestures and in the hard lines of her jaw, in her unsmiling lips and in her quickly lowered gaze. And while the character’s stoicism seems like an unbreachable wall, these two women dismantle — and rebuild it — to stirring effect.”
HIVE writer-director Blerta Basholi, producer Yll Uka, and lead actress Yllka Gashi will participate in Q&As at the Royal after the 7:30 PM screenings on Friday and Saturday, November 12 and 13. Clayton Davis, President of the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, will moderate the Friday Q&A.