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A family’s experience of war inspires Kosovo’s entry for the Oscars

A family’s experience of war inspires Kosovo’s entry for the Oscars
By Wolfgang Spindler
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A film about the war in Kosovo has been submitted for best international feature at next year's Oscars. 'Zana' is inspired by events that happened to the family of director Antoneta Kastrati during the war.


A film inspired by its director's experiences of losing her mother and sister in war has been submitted as Kosovo's entry for "Best International Feature" at next year's Oscars.

Antoneta Kastrati used her memories of the 1998-99 conflict as a base for "Zana". 

"It's inspired from a true story,” says Kastrati. “It's fictional but it stems from my experiences during the war. I was a teenager and I lost my mother and sister - they were killed. I really wanted to look into the long term effects of war and taking from my personal experience of dealing with PTSD (post-war stress disorder) and nightmares.”

The film follows Lume (Adriana Matoshi), an Albanian woman who lives with her husband Ilir (Astrit Kabashi) and mother-in-law Remzije (Fatmire Sahiti). 

Having lost her only child a decade earlier in the war, Lume is haunted by night terrors and unable to conceive.

Desperate to fill a void, her family pressures her to seek magical healers to treat her infertility. When Lume resists, Remzije brings an eager, younger prospective wife to the home. 

Under threat of being replaced, Lume abandons modern medicine and agrees to explore traditional practices.

Watch Wolfgang Spindler’s report in the video player above.

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