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Hill Where Lionesses Roar (The)

Country: France, Kosovo, Language: Albanian, 83 mins

Original Title

La colline où rugissent les lionnes
  • Director: Luàna Bajrami
  • Writer: Luàna Bajrami
  • Producer: Luàna Bajrami, Adrien Ferrand, Pascal Judelewicz, Quentin Just, Lavdrim Krenzi, Valbone Rahmani, Val Rahmany

CGiii Comment

To say this is bleak is an understatement. And...coming from the mind of a 20 year old, this being her debut feature...the future for young adults [in Kosovo] looks rather grim.

The film's strength are the lionesses, a trio of best friends - each with the same frustrations, their own desires...and, their own secrets. Luàna Bajrami's approach is more like a voyeur rather than an investigative journalist...detail is something she not concerned with.

The lionesses welcome into their pride a lion, a quiet and affable lad - the only depiction of masculinity that is not toxic - who forms are romantic relationship with one of the lionesses. There is a beautiful - albeit brief - scene as they huddle around him. This metaphor had the legs to run the entire film...sadly, it was cut short,

With no prospects and little money, together [and, along with the film] off the rails they go...on a very successful crime spree. It would seem that Kosovo has little to no security...they amass what looks like a small fortune. Next town!

It's a film that keeps you guessing about each character's backstory...but, it doesn't keep you guessing about the outcome. Of course, it's going to end in tears...but whose?

What starts off as a vibrant, lazy summer...becomes a powerful statement with regard to sex discrimination, equal rights and the [toxic] patriarchy...higher education institutions in Kosovo are incredibly reluctant in admitting young women into their universities - something they will have to remedy if accession to the EU is in their headlights.

Like the hazy characters, the film doesn't concern itself too deeply about the politics of the country - perhaps, that was the director's intention - to keep it the hazy, lazy idyll of the last summer...before the harsh reality of adulthood descends...and, on that level, the film succeeds.

A fine debut.


The(ir) Blurb...

Somewhere in Kosovo, in a small remote village, three young women see their dreams and ambitions stifled. In their quest for independence, nothing can stop them: time to let the lionesses roar.

Cast & Characters

Luàna Bajrami (as Lena)
Andi Bajgora (as Zem)
Era Balaj (as Li)
Flaka Latifi (as Qe)
Urate Shabani (as Jeta)