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The Forgiveness of Blood
Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlin Film Festival, the powerful and richly textured second feature from Joshua Marston ("Maria Full of Grace") focuses on an Albanian family caught up in a blood feud. Nik (Tristan Halilaj) is a carefree teenager in a small town with a crush on the school beauty and ambitions to start his own internet café. His world is suddenly up-ended when his father and uncle become entangled in a land dispute that leaves a fellow villager murdered. According to a centuries-old code of law, this entitles the dead man's family to take the life of a male from Nik's family as retribution. His uncle in jail and his father in hiding, Nik is the prime target and confined to the home while his younger sister Rudina (Sindi Laçej) is forced to leave school and take over their father's business. Working with non-professional Albanian actors and a local co-writer, Marston boldly contrasts antiquated traditions with the lives of the young people whose future is put at risk by them.