It's been about seven years since global audiences were introduced to Joshua Marston with his captivating drug-mule drama "Maria Full Of Grace," a film which saw its lead, Catalina Sadino Moreno, earn worldwide acclaim and an Oscar nomination. The Californian helmer has managed to keep himself occupied with stints directing television shows such as "How To Make It In America" and "In Treatment," but 2012 is set to see him return with another unique international tale, in the family drama "The Forgiveness Of Blood."
The Albanian-language pic follows a blood feud between two families, with the story primarily told through the eyes of a brother and sister pair from one of the affected families, Nik and Rudina (non-actors Tristan Halilaj and Sindi Lacej, who do a superb job). We caught up with the film at last year's MIFF and described it as honest, unflinching and a fascinating exploration of traditions and the way they're passed on to younger generations.
The film pretty much tackled every festival possible last year, including Toronto, Telluride and London, and even managed to walk away with Screenplay awards from Berlin and Chicago. It's a shame the film isn't getting more coverage, as it was ruled out of contention from the Foreign Language Oscar race simply because six key crew members, including American helmer Marston, American producer Paul Mezey and British DoP Rob Hardy, were from abroad.
"[The film] is made by Albanians, in Albania, about Albania and in the Albanian language," Marston told Variety. "And yet a great film like Kaurismaki's 'Le Havre,' which was shot in France with a French cast and a French story, qualifies as Finnish? And 'As If I Am Not There,' which was shot in the Balkans and is in Serbo-Croat with a cast from that region, qualifies as Irish? It's absurd." Indeed it is, but don't let those insider politics stop you from seeing the movie.
Sundance Selects will release "The Forgiveness Of Blood" into theaters on February 24th. A new trailer for the film is below.