Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

The Forgiveness of Blood 2011

Directed by Joshua Marston

You thought your parents were unreasonable? An Albanian teenager is trapped at home in an ancient blood feud. “Riveting… a richly textured portrait of a society in 2011 still bound by a centuries-old code of law.” — Screendaily

Albania / Denmark / Italy / USA In Albanian with English subtitles
109 minutes



Paul Mezey


Joshua Marston
Andamion Murata


Rob Hardy


Malcolm Jamieson

Production designer

Tommaso Ortino

Costume designer

Emir Turkeshi


Jacobo Lieberman
Leonardo Heiblum


Tristan Halilaj (Nik)
Refet Abazi (Mark)
Zana Hasaj (Bardha)
Erjon Mani (Tom)
Luan Jaha (Zef)
Çun Lajçi (Ded)
Veton Osmani (Sokol)
Selman Lokaj (Kreshnik)
Kol Zefi (Shpend)
Sindi Laçej (Rudina)
Ilire Vinca Çelaj (Drita)
Esmeralda Gjonlulaj (Bora)


Berlin 2011


Best Screenplay, Berlin Film Festival 2011


Intrigued by newspaper accounts of young men in modern Albania caught up in blood feuds, American director Joshua Marston schooled himself in their rigorous ancient code of honour, and fed what he learned into this exposé/suspense drama. Seventeen-year-old Nik harbours 21st-century aspirations but there are 15th-century shackles around his feet: his father and uncle have killed a neighbour, and the aggrieved family has the right to kill Nik if he ever leaves the house. Never told by his fugitive father exactly what has happened, but always told exactly what to do, Nik begins to see that breaking the cycle may entail breaking with family. Working with a largely non-professional cast in a language he doesn’t understand and in a country with scant film production of its own, Marston achieves the same arresting combination of documentary grit and dramatic tension that characterised his similarly conceived Maria Full of Grace (NZIFF04). — BG