Flix at :48: Hive
Lately, I haven't felt excited about visiting the movie theater to watch campy, enlarged, dissatisfying
releases like Cocaine Bear, 65, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, or John Wick: Chapter 4. We can always hope
for a weekend with more promising options. But what do we do right now to find unique, engaging,
cinematic stories? We look to streaming, and that's where I found the film Hive.
Although Hive premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021, it became available through Amazon
Prime in 2022, and I had to review it in an effort to get more people to see it. Set in a European village, a
stern housewife takes care of her two children, her decaying house, and her elderly father-in-law hoping
for her missing husband to return home from the recent war in Kosovo.
As her options run out and her poverty increases, she tries to start her own business producing and selling an indigenous pepper sauce.
But trying to become the breadwinner for her family offends the residents of the village and their
antiquated views on women.
Hive is the feature film debut from writer/director Blerta Basholli who presents a realistic, unglamorous,
quiet view of her home country Kosovo and the societal effects of war. With zero explosions, very little
music, and no concern for adrenaline-fueled fighting, Hive gives a female gaze to the ravages of war. The
narrative is patient and plain, but the emotions it explores are surprisingly complex.
As the stern housewife searches for her husband in body bags, dares to earn a driver's license, and
endures bee stings from the small hives in her backyard, the actress playing her (name Yllka Gashi) does
an impressive job showing a battered and weary determination in the face of increasing grief and violent
Hive is based on the true story of one woman's bold entrepreneurship, and I know it might sound like a
downer of third world proportions. But it offers an inspiring, although small, message of hope and
perseverance many viewers can appreciate. And I don't think we can have too many films like this,
especially when they're told with such unadorned honesty and when they come from such an unlikely
place in the world.
When it was first shown at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, Hive won the Grand Jury Prize, the Directing
Award, and the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award. It is the first film in the festival's history to win
all three awards.