Hive (Zgjoi) (15)

Hive (Zgjoi) (15)

Director: Blerta Basholli

Runtime: 84 minutes

Cast: Yllka Gashi, Labinot Lajçi, Yll Uka, Valon Bajgora, Agon Uka, Adriana Matoshi, Astrit Kabashi, Çun Lajçi, Aurita Agushi, Armend Smajli, Kumrije Hoxha

Synopsis: This powerful drama is based on the true story of Fahrije (Yllka Gashi) who, like many of the other women in her patriarchal village, has lived with fading hope and burgeoning grief since her husband went missing during the war in Kosovo. In order to provide for her struggling family, she pulls the other widows in her community together to launch a business selling a local food product. Together, they find healing and solace in considering a future without their husbands—but their will to begin living independently is met with hostility.


Written and directed by Blerta Basholli, Hive (Albanian: Zgjoi) is a 2021 Albanian-Kosovan film and her directorial debut. It screened at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival and premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival where it became the first film in Sundance history to win all three main awards – the Grand Jury Prize, the Audience Award and the Directing Award. – in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. It was selected as the Kosovan entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

Based on a stirring true story, this tale of resilience and hope is from an emerging voice in world cinema. Hive is a touching and inspiring portrait of loss and overcoming injustices in a patriarchal society.

Fahrije’s [Yllka Gash – Familja Moderne (TV 2001), Kukumi (2005), The Wedding Tape (2011)] husband has been missing since the war in Kosovo, and along with their grief, her family is struggling financially. To provide for them she launches a small agricultural business, but in the traditional patriarchal village where she lives, her ambition and efforts to empower herself and other women are not seen as positive things. She struggles not only to keep her family afloat but also against a hostile community that is rooting for her to fail.

The men in the village condemn Fahrije’s efforts to empower herself and the women around her, starting a feud that threatens their newfound sovereignty—and the financial future of Fahrije’s family. Against the backdrop of civil unrest and lingering misogyny, Fahrije and the women of her village join in a struggle to find hope in the face of an uncertain future.

“‘A widow should only do housework, respect her in-laws and stay at home. These were the words Fahrije Hoti heard every day as soon as she got a driver’s license and started to provide for her kids, having lost her husband during the last war in Kosovo,” comments director Blerta Basholli, who heard about her on a Kosovan radio channel while at home in Brooklyn, New York.

While the story is quite painful and sad, it is very empowering, being about beginnings, change, and how funny life can be in the most serious moments.

Led by a mesmerising performance from Yllka Gashi, a strong ensemble recreate Fahrije’s story and her will and power to not only survive, but to achieve something great and never look back.

“Her positivity and energy are fascinating. That is something I want to bring on screen, a strong female character full of colours, a woman protagonist that needs to be seen by Kosovo and a wider audience. Her decision was to continue with her life no matter what was confusing, painful, sometimes even funny, but deeply inspiring,” says Blerta Basholli.

Bold and honest, Hive is a powerful tribute to everyday women who quietly change lives.

In cinemas

Images courtesy of: ALTITUDE