There is a spare, focused storytelling here that creates room to breathe.
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It’s hard to think of a less dramatic subject to fictionalize, yet in its own quiet way, Hive builds a strong storyline around the self-reliance and determination of an uneducated country woman, played with glammed-down but riveting cool by a granite-faced Yllka Gashi.
Although, like its main character, Hive is more on the low-key and pensive side, it is nonetheless a gut-punching and measured film. It is about the consequences of warfare and the many wounds those who survive have to tend to in order to create a new normal after years of utter tragedy, such as the genocide and massacres that happened in many villages like Krusha during the Kosovo War.
Despite Gashi’s strong, stoic performance, it feels like the film is more interested in inspiring its audience than it is in gleaning insight into Fahrije’s psychology.
While it certainly offers up a necessary-if-dour vision of patriarchy-dominated life in this particular corner of Europe, by-the-numbers storytelling and a flat, visual style occasionally lead to dramatic intertia. Still, Gashi is powerfully, effectively steely as a woman who must take matters into her own hands, even when they are tied by society.