Kosovo has selected Blerta Zeqiri’s feature debut The Marriage as its submission in the best foreign-language film category for the Oscars.
The film, which picked up two awards in December at the Tallinn Film Festival, tells the story of a forbidden love triangle, set in the Balkans a decade after a bitter civil war.
Telling the story of the conflict through the personal passions of ordinary people, Zeqiri’s film is seen as very current, with controversy raging over a U.S.-backed proposal for Kosovo and Serbia to swap territories to resolve continuing ethnic tensions along their border nearly 20 years after the two countries were at war.
With a conventional boy-meets-girl beginning that transforms into an explosive gay love triangle, Zeqiri, who in 2012 picked up a Sundance short film jury prize for Kthimi, touches many a raw nerve with the film.
Isa Qosia, head of Kosovo’s Oscar selection committee, said: “The film tackles a different subject than we are used to, or rather are obliged to see in our industry. It contains a multi-layered structure, and the actors bring the character’s fates to life with emotion and a natural manner. The directing is subtle, and the tale is experienced as naturally unfolding by the viewer.”
Starring Alban Ukaj, Adriana Matoshi and Genc Salihu, the Albanian-language film is a Kosovo-Albanian co-production, produced by Keka Kreshnik Berisha of Beze Production with Bunker Film+. Paris-based Wide is handling international sales.
The Marriage is Kosovo’s fifth foreign-language Oscar submission since 2014. None of its entries has been shortlisted or nominated for an Academy Award.