The Forgotten Mountain (2018)

Rikard (Xhevat Qorraj) is down on his luck after his son kicks him out of his own home. He stays with his daughter and son in law in a remote cabin in the mountains and starts to think things over.

Director: Ardit Sadiku

Cast: Xhevat Qorraj, Fatlume Bunjaku, Agron Shala, Kastriot Shehi

MPAA Raiting: N/A

Fun Fact: An Albanian film.

Here is the next entry in my series of independent films from around the world. This film is another first for the site as it is from Albania. As I continue my immersion of film culture, it is interesting to see different films from around the world that I never really knew about. When I think about films from different countries I usually think about places like Japan, Germany, and many others that have rich histories in film making. Albania is definitely a first for me as I did not really know if there were any movies coming from that country.

The Forgotten Mountain is a story that is written and directed by Ardit Sadiku. Sadiku puts together a beautifully crafted film that had me invested from the very beginning. The cinematography is top notch for this feature and every shot shows the amazing landscape that production took place. It is honestly one of the best cinematography works I have seen from an independent feature. Every shot on point and filming all in natural light makes the film more realistic. I felt like I was sitting with these characters in their conversations in the garden or in the house. The location space is massive and when a character goes on for a walk it feels like we are going with them and exploring an area that we never have been to before.

The film’s themes our deep and real as it tackles on many themes that people go through. Loneliness, family rivalry, homelessness, suicide contemplation is just some of the themes that are presented in many of the characters. It makes the film relatable as many people have gone through the same thing. Xhevat Qorraj is fantastic as the lead character Rikard. Rikard is going through a lot and you feel for him. He expresses his emotions not just through words, but through his actions. In fact, many of the performances are like that and they are all acted well. Fatlume Bunjaku portrays Rikard’s daughter Ema and she is just as fantastic. Ema wants to help her father, but it is also affecting her in many ways. We see this through her actions and the film relies on showing and not telling.

A unique thing that I have noticed that through the film there is no music until the very end. It took me awhile to notice and get used to, but I liked the fact that there was no music involved. This film does not require tension building as it is more of a character study. I want to see what these characters are up to and I think music will take that away. It is one of those rare justified moments were music really is not needed.

Overall, The Forgotten Mountain is one of the better independent film’s I have seen in a good while. Writer and director Ardit Sadiku presents us with a very real film that many can relate to. The film is driven by its performances and while we have well-written dialogue the facial and body language tells us so much more. Xhevat Qorraj leads the cast in one of the better performances I have seen in an independent film and of all of the films I have seen so far. He has a lot to carry and he pulls it off believably. Fatlume Bunjaku is also just as great as his daughter and the two of them have great chemistry. The locations are beautiful and vast, and the cinematography captures the beauty of the landscape like no other. Filming in the natural light makes it more real and the absence of music is one of the rare times that is justified. I could not get enough of the lead character’s journey and it made me forget that there was no music. This film makes me want to see more of Sadiku’s films as I continue to look into enrich myself with films from around the world.

The Forgotten Mountain is viewable on Amazon Prime Video.

Verdict: Hit


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