It would be naïve to think that, despite the major steps forward taken over the past couple of decades in the UK, there’s no longer any stigma attached to homosexuality. However, we’re a long way ahead of many other countries and states. Whilst Kosovo, for example, may have legalised same-sex marriage in 2014, it doesn’t mean that society as a whole have become open and accepting. Religion still plays a huge part, and in his new film The Marriage Blerta Zeqiri looks at the changing face of relationships within this environment.
A decade after the end of the Kosovan War, Bekim (Alban Ukaj) and Anita (Adriana Matoshi) are preparing to get married. At the same time, his old friend Nol (Genc Salihu) is visiting from France. Friends warn Anita that Nol is a bad influence on her fiancé, keeping him out drinking and causing trouble. Little do they know that the pair, who sheltered from the fighting together, were much more than friends.
The Marriage is a relationship drama set in a world where the conflicts between tradition and progress play-out against the echoes of war. There are brilliant performances from all three leads. They encompass all the complexities, psychological torments and pressures on the emerging middle-classes in Pristina. Zegiri keeps thinks comparatively light, given the subject matter. It could be anywhere in the world, but The Marriage paints a portrait of a nation-state struggling to build a future on the ghosts of its past.
The Marriage screens at East End Film Festival on 21 April.