Movie review: The Hill where the lionesses roar – Raindance Film Festival 2021

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writer and Director: Luana Bajrami

It’s unusual to see a movie about the friendship of a teenage girl who doesn’t use relationship disruption as a dramatic driver, so Luàna Bajrami The hill where the lionesses roar presented at the Raindance Film Festival 2021, is an unusual and refreshing addition to the genre. Instead, Bajrami’s Kosovo film looks at the unity and aspiration of women when opportunities are limited.

Li, Qe and Jeta are in their last summer before college or a job changes their lives forever. Best friends and fiercely loyal to one another, the young women spend long days and hot nights in abandoned buildings and pools. But when a boyfriend crosses paths with a gang of teenagers, the friends decide to do everything to get out of town.

Bajrami’s story is almost several different movie ideas brought together into one; there is the coming of age story of girls on the dawn of femininity exploring their needs and sexuality; there’s a social justice film that considers the restrictive context as well as their experiences of domestic and sexual violence, and finally a brief moment of crime as a very different energy envelops the film for about 10 minutes.

Generally, however, The hill where the lionesses roar is a story of the kind of endless friendship you think you have at 17, where days go on forever and as many hours as possible are spent laughing, telling stories and just being with the people you understand best. Bajrami is particularly good at demonstrating this side of this relationship, the close intimacy and protection of friends who, for the most part, wander from day to day for 80 minutes.

And while this sometimes gives the film an uneven quality that doesn’t dig below the surface to offer a clear distinction between the characters or the individual traumas that bring them together, their oneness of mind and certainty is something the film has to do. the shovel. That Bajrami films this in a countryside-urban setting is often very beautiful, creating places of escape and protection for friends.

Flaka Latifi is arguably most distinct as a Qe living with her sometimes abusive father and beloved younger sister, but eager for the freedom from the household chores her friendships provide. La Jeta of Urate Shabani lives with her uncle who gives her a little too much attention while Era Balaj as Li is really only defined by her boyfriend and his ability to drive, but together they form a convincing group.

On view only a few days via Curzon Home Cinema, The hill where the lionesses roar tries to do a little too much in its final stages, which feels out of step with the rest of the story, but as a positive portrayal of close female friendships before real life gets in the way, it’s extremely enjoyable .

The Hill Where Lionesses Roar is screened via Curzon Home Cinema at the Raindance Film Festival until October 31.


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