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news 14 Jul 17

Kosovo Film Fest Tackles Troubling Topic of Rape

The ninth Prishtina International Film Festival opened in the Kosovo capital with a premiere of 'Unwanted' - a film that deals head on with the highly senstive issue of the rape of Kosovo women during the war.

Die Morina
The opening of the festival in Pristina. Photo: Adi Beqiri

The ninth Prishtina International Film Festival, PriFest, opened on Thursday evening at the Kosovo National Theatre, presenting a programme that includes seven international premieres.

“It’s our biggest edition, with more movies, guests, programs and activities, and more entertainment after the movie screenings as well,” Vjosa Berisha, director of the festival said.

The festival will host as special guest the Oscar-winning Canadian director Paul Haggis, known for his work oin "Million Dollar Baby" and "Crash".

The director of PriFest, Vjosa Berisha, at the opening ceremony. Photo: Adi Beqiri

The festival started with the screening of “Unwanted” by Kosovo Albanian director Edon Rizvanolli, a Kosovo-Dutch co-production that was an international first in Pristina.

The film raises one of the most sensitive war-related issues in Kosovo, that of rape.

Teenager Alban lives in Amsterdam with his Kosovo Albanian mother, Zana, who had to leave the country after her family cast her out because a Serb soldier had raped her and left her pregnant during Kosovo's independence war.

Alban then meets a girl whose family also moved to The Netherlands from Kosovo - but she is the daughter of a Serbian father.

Zana eventually decides to share her story with her son, reminding audiences how difficult forgiveness and reconciliation can be.

“My message is for this issue to be discussed - it is a must. I hope that people who see this film will approach this issue in a more sensitive way and talk about it,” Rizvanolli told BIRN after the premiere.

Director Edon Rizvanolli and actors from 'Unwanted' at the opening ceremony. Photo: Adi Beqiri

Among the 70 movies screening at the festival, seven are world premieres, four are international premieres, three are European premieres, and 22 are regional premieres. None of the films has been screened in Kosovo before.

Besides the city cinema and National Theatre, the films will also be screened at an open-air cinema in the city's Zahir Pajaziti Square.

The festival will close with "The Square", the winning movie at this year’s Cannes Festival.

The audience at the festival's open-air cinema in Pristina. Photo: Adi Beqiri



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