Hive movie review & film summary (2021)

Fahrije knows she won’t be able endure the hardship much longer. The beehives that her husband had set up are inadequate in providing for her modest household. Not to mention the frequent painful bites she has to suffer on the job, the sting of which Basholli’s camera intensely captures. So she spearheads a different kind of hive in its stead, starting off a business of homemade hot pepper preserve that involves other hardworking women in her situation and a savvy deal made with a local market that agrees to buy their product.

Worded like this, her venture sounds a lot easier and uneventful to kickstart than what we actually witness in the film, happenings that involve a network of unforgivingly patriarchal players shaming Fahrije for daring to get ahead in life and a group of intimidated women initially refusing her financial proposal just to avoid gossip. The women’s hesitation frankly seems understandable when Basholli gives us a damning taste of the impediments the deeply misogynistic town collectively throws Fahrije’s way, calling her a whore for everything, from obtaining a driver’s license to facing male buyers on her own.

The hostility escalates to such an unbearable extent that during one drive, someone vandalizes her car. During another, she gets subjected to sexual assault by the very man she’s supposed to do business with. On an especially soul-crushing day, she and her fellow workers find their jars smashed, their paste spilled all over. Basholli follows and photographs these events with an unfussy style, keeping her focus on the town’s suffocating earthiness and Gashi’s gradually hardening exterior that stubbornly fends off the vulgarity that surrounds her. At times, the filmmaker also finds traces of Fahrije’s unconsummated grief through her empathetic lens, discharging the pent-up sorrow at an especially heartbreaking scene where the young woman is asked to identify a lifeless body that could belong to her missing husband.

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