Adriana Matoshi, Astrit Kabashi, Fatmire Sahiti
A Kosovar woman struggles with both her failure to conceive and her traumatic wartime past in the vital, visceral Zana, the debut dramatic feature from Kosovo-born, LA-based writer/director Antoneta Kastrati, who has previously made several documentaries exploring the after-effects of the Kosovo War.
Memories of her own terrible losses in the conflict weigh heavily on Lume (Adriana Matoshi). Her husband is pressurising her to move on from the past, while her mother-in-law suspects they may be cursed, and pushes Lume – disturbed by nightmare visions – to abandon traditional medicine and seek assistance from spiritual healers. But while these strategies seem at first to offer relief, Lume’s long-suppressed traumas from the war slowly rise to torment her again.
Kastrati’s astute, unflinching film draws on her own family history and uses psychological horror to explore a mind broken by post traumatic stress, the causes of which are gradually revealed, as well as a contradictory modern Kosovo in which faith in God and in the powers of healers are complementary rather than mutually exclusive. A tremendously impressive debut, it was Kosovo’s entry for the 2020 Oscars.