One of the most prominent directors from Kosovo, Isa Qosja, is preparing his next feature film with the working title The Stroke (previous working title: Skype), which will be set in his birthplace in Montenegro for the first time ever. Qosja’s latest film, Three Windows and a Hanging [+], was widely circulated at festivals and won multiple awards. He is of course also behind numerous Kosovan modern classics, such as Proka (1985), Rojet e Mjegullës (1988) and Kukumi (2005).
According to the first snippets of available information, the film will be shot in Qosja’s birthplace, the small town of Gusinje (Gusia) in north-eastern Montenegro, something that has been one of the director’s biggest dreams to realise. Actors confirmed to star in the film include Arta Dobroshi in the leading role – one of Kosovo’s most famous actresses, well known for her performance in Lorna's Silence [+] by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and in Three Worlds [+] by Catherine Corsini – as well as Arben Bajraktaraj and Mirush Kabashi. Qosja will also be returning to collaborate with Gökhan Tiryaki, the internationally-acclaimed and award-winning Turkish cinematographer who is best known for his work on Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Palme d’Or Winner, Winter Sleep [+], as well as Ivy [+] by Tolga Karaçelik.
When asked about the background of his new film and the significance of shooting in Montenegro, Qojsa stated: “I would like to speak about my new film The Stroke, not only because it differs from my previous films like Kukumi or Three Windows and a Hanging, but also because after many years, I’ll be returning to my birthplace in Gusia, Montenegro to realise this project.
My inspiration was not only my birthplace, but also its surroundings, its people, the happenings and the bleak spirits they find themselves in. Families are torn in two, the older generation remains and lives there, and the younger generation emigrates to America. Like this, slowly and silently, families, villages, and towns die out. I am convinced that this subject will communicate emotionally with many people that are familiar with the bitter taste of emigration.”
The film is produced by 4MM Productions and is supported by the Kosovo Cinematography Center. In terms of the director’s expectations for the film, he also added that he expected “that this film will receive the attention it deserves from important international festivals."
Text by Vassilis Economou for CineEuropa