The Forgiveness of Blood

Director: Joshua Marston
Year Released: 2011
Rating: 2.0

An Albanian teen (Tristan Halilaj) who is obsessed with Facebook, video games and modern culture is trapped in the middle of a blood feud after his father and uncle kill a member of a neighboring family (over something so seemingly slight as not letting them use an access road): because the village he lives in still follows the (archaic, crude) laws of the Kanun, only his teenage sister is allowed to leave the house (where she becomes a kind of cigarette-peddling hustler). Marston's approach is leisurely and his topic is unique - I (naively) had no idea feuds like this still existed - though the third act basically drifts off into the (serene) fields instead of having a dramatic impact: Halilaj eventually confronts the rival family's patriarch and is given a weird reprieve and told to leave the village and never return again, and this seems to go against the bulk of the movie that preceded it. Marston - an American who went to Tisch - is all-too careful about refraining from taking a side on the issue of outdated cultural laws, which is respectable, though a broader look at the culture of the village and the people - there are far more questions that come up than answers - might have made for a more enriched movie.