In Kosovo, the pressure on a mother to conceive, from both her conservative family and superstitious village community, builds with intensity in this nightmarish, emotionally charged drama tackling themes of war, trauma and oppressive gender roles.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
A taut, suspenseful drama about the toll war can take on a mother, Zana is set in a small Kosovar village and follows Lume as she attempts to conceive a child ten years after losing her young daughter in the war. With medical assistance failing, the taciturn Lume reluctantly turns to the mysticism of a traditional healer in an effort to appease her mother-in-law’s desperation for a grandchild. In her attempts to fall pregnant, Lume finds her repressed trauma rising rapidly to the surface, straining her relationships and violently disrupting her state of mind.
With an exquisite lead performance by the compelling Adriana Matoshi, Zana is a deeply personal portrait of a mother's grief in the shadow of wartime trauma. A survivor of the war which killed her mother and sister, director Antoneta Kastrati brings a visceral authenticity to the film, lodging the viewer in Lume’s unravelling spirit with crisp cinematography and harrowing dream sequences. Zana is a deft turn towards drama from Kastrati – a long-time documentarian – and a gripping study of the cavernous connection between mother and child. — Amanda Jane Robinson
About the Filmmaker
Antoneta Kastrati was born in Zahaq, Kosovo. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communication, and attended the American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women. She has directed the short documentaries Seeking Magic (2008) and She Comes in Spring (2013). Zana is her feature debut.