628 The Forgiveness of Blood

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Jeff
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628 The Forgiveness of Blood

#1 Post by Jeff » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:32 pm

The Forgiveness of Blood

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American director Joshua Marston broke out in 2004 with his jolting, Oscar-nominated Maria Full of Grace, about a young Colombian woman working as a drug mule. In his remarkable follow-up, The Forgiveness of Blood, he turns his camera on another corner of the world: contemporary northern Albania, a place still troubled by the ancient custom of interfamilial blood feuds. From this reality, Marston sculpts a fictional narrative about a teenage brother and sister physically and emotionally trapped in a cycle of violence, a result of their father’s entanglement with a rival clan over a piece of land. The Forgiveness of Blood is a tense and perceptive depiction of a place where tradition and progress have an uneasy coexistence, as well as a dynamic coming-of-age drama.


DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

- New high-definition digital transfer, approved by producer Paul Mezey, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Audio commentary featuring director and cowriter Joshua Marston
- Two new video programs: Acting Close to Home, a discussion between Marston and actors Refet Abazi, Tristan Halilaj, and Sindi Laçej, and Truth on the Ground, featuring new and on-set interviews with Mezey, Abazi, Halilaj, and Laçej
- Audition and rehearsal footage
- Trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film writer Oscar Moralde

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: 628 The Forgiveness of Blood

#2 Post by The Narrator Returns » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:47 pm

Odd that this is the only release with a commentary, but it looks interesting. I might pick it up at the next Criterion 50% off sale.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 628 The Forgiveness of Blood

#3 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:18 pm

Maybe it's easier to get director's commentaries than scholarly ones. My girlfriend was a big fan of Maria, she might wind up talking me into this one.

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CSM126
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Re: 628 The Forgiveness of Blood

#4 Post by CSM126 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:22 pm


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ptatler
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Re: 628 The Forgiveness of Blood

#5 Post by ptatler » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:25 pm

This.... wasn't.... good. Its component parts -- the performances, the concept, the setting -- are fine. The whole is practically inert. I have no problem with slow and quiet when it's in the service of some formal/storytelling aim. But this thing is a real snooze. I'm hoping watching the extras will at least help me understand why it was chosen for the collection. Even TINY FURNITURE is representative of a certain kind of film. This thing just feels like it was made by a tourist/dilettante about a subject he learned via Albania's Wikipedia entry.

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Lemmy Caution
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Re: 628 The Forgiveness of Blood

#6 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:50 pm

Were there any scenes with car washes or furniture stores?
That seemed to be the main economic activity in Northern Albania when I passed through last year.

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ptatler
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Re: 628 The Forgiveness of Blood

#7 Post by ptatler » Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:32 pm

Lemmy Caution wrote:Were there any scenes with car washes or furniture stores?
I'm afraid not. I guess it's not a blind buy for you now, is it?

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Lemmy Caution
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Re: 628 The Forgiveness of Blood

#8 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:24 pm

I'm definitely interested.
This film sounds rather like Katalin Varga, where a Western director uses southeastern Europe to depict the more primal urges of man -- revenge and violence and such. I thought KV was quite powerful, but it also wasn't interested in the cultural specifics (of ... Romania? ... Hungary?). I recently saw As If I Am Not There, which was directed by an Irish woman, Juanita Wilson, about Serb atrocities in one Bosnian village during the 90's war.
So I guess there is something of a trend with young Anglo directors making films in that part of the world.

As for northern Albania, the roads are fairly horrendous which has, I assume, spawned the many, many car washes scattered along the roadways. I can't account for the profusion of furniture stores, mostly touting Italian styles. The capital Tirana was quirky with a statue of liberty replica atop one hotel, a weird pyramid thing downtown which was intended to venerate the Hoxha clan, a UFO University (just an odd acronym coincidence), etc.

After much of the economy was wiped out in a number of pyramid schemes in the 90's, an uprising in Albania overran and raided the main armory. So now apparently most families have an AK47 or similar serious weapon, reportedly frequently mounted on the living room wall. I didn't ask anyone in Albania if this is true, but Albanians I've met in China agree that's the case. I was only in Albania 2.5 days and another 3 days in Kosovo (also ethnic Albanians).
People were friendly. Smoking seems to be a big hobby.

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cdnchris
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Re: 628 The Forgiveness of Blood

#9 Post by cdnchris » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:36 pm

I thought this was okay, probably the weaker of the IFC titles Criterion has gone after but far better than Tiny Furniture. I didn't have problems with the pacing and thought it went by fairly quick in all honesty. The central story was interesting enough and the acting was strong.

I guess I didn't find anything really special about the film which is why I came out sort of "ho hum" about it. Sure, there's the look at tradition vs. the modernizing of the country (the blood feuds, the "elders" that mediate, the horse drawn carriages vs. heavy cell phone use, social media, and the luxury cars that show up) but I never felt anything was truly integrated. It was more "hey, this kid is trapped in the house because his father dishonoured another family" and "hey, these kids love uploading photos to Facebook and passing video messages to one another." After listening to the commentary it sounds as though Marston really researched the country and the culture, so I probably know far more about the country than I did before, which doesn't say much since admittedly I know very little about it, except for the fictionalized version presented in Wag the Dog sadly.

I haven't seen it in a few years (since its home video release) but I think Maria Full of Grace is a much better film and would have made more sense as a release (though I think that's New Line.) Forgiveness was decent, and I found it interesting, but that's about the only praise I have for it.

And to Lemmy, it does look at shadier areas of the economy but it's not a central point, more of something the daughter looks into to keep the family afloat. No mention of pyramid schemes that I recall, and certainly no car washes. All the roads were dirt, though. :)

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