The Hill where lionesses roar: the successful debut of filmmaker Luàna Bajrami [critique]

The revelation of La Jeune fille en feu goes behind the camera for the first time with a story of female emancipation carried by a trio of explosive actresses

The value does not wait for the number of years, goes the saying. And Luàna Bajrami brings new proof of this by stepping behind the camera at the age of 20 with a desire and an enthusiasm that sweep away everything in her path. For this premiere, the heroine of Portrait of the girl on fire chose to return to its roots in Kosovo and celebrate sisterhood as a means of shattering this patriarchy at all levels – harmful male figures in their families, university slamming the door in their faces with contempt… – which obscures the horizon of its heroines refusing to have their future stolen. Three teenage girls in rebellion who will improvise robbers, certain that in this world of men, no one will be able to suspect them of such misdeeds. Delinquency as the only means of escape, such is the paradox of these actions that Luàna Bajrami films in immersion, over the paradoxes that constitute this trio as childish as it is mature. This bias leads to air pockets, to the sudden brutal disappearance of characters (including that of this young Kosovar living in France who has come to spend the summer in her grandmother’s house, whom Bajrami plays herself), to an end that is too abrupt… But these imperfections are also all the charm of a film which, like this gang like no other, refuses to fit into a framework, to follow the stages of the announced initiatory story in school. Incarnated by a band of actresses who are astoundingly natural, energetic and charismatic, The hill where the lionesses roar destabilizes you as much as it carries you away. A filmmaker is born.

By Luana Bajrami. With Flaka Latifi, Urate Shabani, Era Balaj… Duration: 1h23. Released April 27, 2022

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