- Director: Blerta Zeqiri
- Writer: Blerta Zeqiri
- Producer: Kreshnik Keka Berisha
Kosovo's 2019 Oscar enty for best 'Foreign Language Film'...and, Blerta Zeqiri's debut feature...a [most] worthy entry & contender...alas, the film is up against some [seriously] stiff competition. Alfonso Cuarón's Roma is destined to win!
This is a simple story...an ordinary man is about to marry an ordinary women...both have baggage. His...arrives on his doorstep, an ex, him. Hers...well, let's say [understandably] 'high maintenance' just about covers it! Suddenly, the 'ordinary' evaporates and these three characters wrap and trap themselves into a tangled web...exacerbated by an ultra-conservative backdrop...that is, still, Kosovan society.
The big question that runs throughout the film is...is he? Gay? Bisexual? He's definitely one or the other! Not a chance, not in this country! Expect denial. Expect some self-loathing. Be prepared for some eye-watering hypocrisy. Blerta Zeqiri delivers layer-upon-layer of complexity, this is not [just] a scathing indictment on the [collective] Kosovan attitude towards sexuality, it's [so] much more than that!
The Marriage is tradition...in a country that aspires to be part of the European Union and still struggles to be recognised as an independent state by every other independent state. Indeed, a country with both tragedy and baggage...and, a country that can almost smell - in the air - a gathering wind, a craving...for change. This parallel between country and character is an ingenious mechanism...because, if you think about it, the film never ends...just follow Kosovo's future path and Bekim's story will unfold before your very eyes! Ingenious, isn't it?
But...change takes time and change only happens when all parties concerned are ready...for the upheaval, for the [painful] breaking of tradition(s). The European Union is like a dangling carrot in front of Kosovo's eyes. Paris [the city] is Bekim's carrot...it's there, it's almost within touching distance...but! So near...still...so far. Family, tradition...deep roots.
Not only is this the director's film...it's Alban Ukaj's too. He gives a mesmerising performance as the troubled-not-so-troubled-man-in-and-out-control, his charisma - even in his less savoury moments - is so full of warmth that you really do feel and root for this man.
The Marriage is an exceptional character study...of a man and a country...not quite ready for the change that they both [desperately] want. Rarely does a first feature carry such magnitude, Blerta Zeqiri delivers that weight...with incredible dignity and a deep-rooted affection. Because, at its core, The Marriage is only [and all] about love.
A stunning piece of work.
The wedding is only two weeks away. Anita and Bekim are adding the final touches to their big day. Despite expecting news from Anita’s parents, declared missing since the 1999 Kosovar War, the couple seems to manage somehow with the preparations. But when Nol, Bekim’s secret ex gay lover, returns unexpectedly from abroad, the situation becomes complicated. Especially since Bekim realizes the latter is still in love with him.