Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

5/5 (1)

From Blerta Basholli, “Hive” is a portrait of a widow in Kosovo just a few years after the war that devastated its people. Searing and difficult to watch, it is also rhythmic and existential with a tonal nod to Kafka. It is based on a true story.

Fahrije (Yllka Gashi) is trying to move forward (selling her honey and her red pepper sauce called ajvar) after the presumed death of her husband. To Fahrije’s friends, there is hope that he may return.

Fahije gets her driver’s license, a rare thing for a woman in her area. She has all the best intentions but her teen daughter is humiliated at school and she calls her mother a whore. When Fahrije goes to the market her rusty car is brutally pelted by huge stones and she barely escapes unharmed. She returns home to take care of her impaired father in law (Çun Lajçi). Soon afterward, her house is vandalized with her pepper relish poured all over the floor shellacking it in thick red goo. The interior is a murder scene.

Still she carries on.

After each harrowing episode Fahrije returns to her hive. The bees are deafening. The wall of insects can either be seen as a cathartic cleansing or a sign of the coming apocalypse.

She clearly lives in a condition of one moment at a time with each day unfolding into a sea of spit and dirty looks. Sometimes it is worse.

Claustrophobia and anxiety are the order of the day, with events even more virulent than Pablo Larrain’s portrait of Diana. Basholli is uncompromising here but he is to be applauded. In some areas of the globe, women are treated as shackled animals, but these very same women survive and reveal themselves as more resilient, more potent and certainly more moral than the male sex.

Write Ian at

Ratings & Comments