The Forgiveness of Blood

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The Forgiveness of Blood
The Forgiveness of Blood poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joshua Marston
Written by Joshua Marston
Andamion Murataj
Starring Tristan Halilaj
Cinematography Rob Hardy
Edited by Malcolm Jamieson
Release dates
  • 18 February 2011 (2011-02-18) (Berlinale)
  • 17 September 2011 (2011-09-17) (Albania)
Running time
109 minutes
Country United States
Language Gheg Albanian

The Forgiveness of Blood (Albanian: Falja e Gjakut) is a 2011 Albanian-American drama film co-written and directed by Joshua Marston. The film premiered in competition at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival and competed for the Golden Bear.[1][2] Marston and co-writer Andamion Murataj won the Silver Bear for Best Script.[3]

The film was originally submitted as the Albanian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film, but it was rejected when Bujar Alimani, director of Amnesty, protested that The Forgiveness of Blood ought not to be eligible due to American input on the project. The AMPAS disqualified it and Albania submitted Alimani's film instead.[4]

The film deals with the consequences of a blood feud on a family in a remote area of modern-day Albania.[2][5][6]


  • Refet Abazi as Mark, who incites a blood feud by killing his neighbour Sokol.
  • Veton Osmani as Sokol, the neighbour Mark kills in a dispute over a field.
  • Tristan Halilaj as Nik, Mark's 17-year-old son.
  • Sindi Lacej as Rudina, Mark's 14-year-old daughter.
  • Erjon Mani as Tom, 17-year-old friend of Nik.


After their father and uncle are suspected of murdering a neighbor because of a land dispute, the lives of the children are changed. Nik, the teenage son, is confined to the house, while Rudina, the oldest girl, is forced to quit high school and take over the family's bread delivery business. The film contrasts the modernization of rural Albania, where the teenagers text each other and Nik dreams of opening an internet cafe, with centuries-old customs.[7]


The film earned an 86% "Certified Fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 7.2 based on 64 reviews.[6]

Cultural background[edit]

The Kanun is a traditional code of behavior still followed in much of Albania, most notably in the northern highlands, which authorizes an eye-for-an-eye response in event of murder. According to the Kanun, the family of a murdered person should kill a member of the murderer's family. Although traditionally only adult males are at risk, there have been instances where females or children have been killed. The revenge killing can only take place outside of the person's home, so at-risk males are often confined to home while females become the sole support of the family.[8]



  1. ^ "The Forgiveness Of Blood". Berlinale. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Spacey, Moore and 3D in focus at Berlin film fest". Agence France-Presse. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Prizes & Honours 2011". Berlinale. Berlin International Film Festival. 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Holdsworth, Nick (9 October 2011). "Albanian Oscar entry disqualified". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Freeman, Colin (1 July 2010). "Albania's modern-day blood feuds". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "The Forgiveness Of Blood (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "About The Forgiveness of Blood". IFC Films. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Bilefsky, Dan (10 July 2008). "In Albanian Feuds, Isolation Engulfs Families". New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 

External links[edit]