- 1 hr 36 min
Zana, a 2019 Albanian-language movie, tells the story of Lume, a Kosovan woman who, years after the war, is still suffering from PTSD and infertility. Adriana Matoshi plays Lume with sensitivity, bringing depth and nuance to her character's internal struggles. Her husband, Ilir (Astrit Kabashi), is supportive but increasingly frustrated with her inability to have children, while her mother-in-law (Fatmire Sahiti) is dismissive and cruel. Lume's PTSD is manifested in vivid nightmares and hallucinations, some of which are truly terrifying. Director Antoneta Kastrati uses these scenes to build tension and suspense throughout the movie. The war is never explicitly shown, but its impact on Lume's psyche is palpable. After years of failed attempts at fertility treatments, Lume meets a traditional healer named Sabit (Eshref Durmishi) who claims to be able to cure her infertility. At first skeptical, Lume eventually turns to Sabit out of desperation. The scenes in which Sabit performs his healings are both fascinating and unsettling, and Kastrati wisely leaves the question of whether or not he is actually helping Lume up for interpretation. Throughout the movie, Lume is haunted by visions of a mysterious woman named Zana. As a child, Lume believed that Zana was a fairy who protected her, but as an adult, she is not sure if Zana represents something sinister or if she is merely a product of her traumatized mind. Zana's presence in the movie adds an element of magical realism that makes it all the more haunting. Zana is a visually stunning movie, with breathtaking shots of the Kosovan countryside and carefully composed close-ups that allow the actors' emotions to shine through. It is also a well-paced movie, with a slow buildup to a powerful climax that ties together all of the movie's themes. One of the most impressive things about Zana is the way it tackles such heavy subjects without ever feeling preachy or exploitative. Lume's struggles with infertility and PTSD are portrayed with respect and empathy, and the movie's ending provides a glimmer of hope without denying the reality of the situation. Overall, Zana is a beautiful and haunting movie that lingers in the mind long after it is over. The performances are exceptional across the board, and Kastrati's direction is masterful. It is a rare movie that manages to be both devastating and uplifting at the same time, and it deserves to be seen by a wider audience.