"Mirush": Mirush Versus the World By José Miguel Gaspar

in 24th Troia FesTroia - International Film Festival

by José Miguel Gaspar

The boy is a rebel with a recalcitrant cause. This is the story of the teenage Mirush: His father has abandoned him once, having left his family in Kosovo for an Oslo affair of undisclosed reasons, and will reject him again: “I have no family”, the adult tells the child as they meet along the way. He might even be prepared to do it a third time, as the Albanian mafia in Norway stretches and tightens its rapacious grip. This is the world of Mirush (Blodsbånd), the piquant new drama from Norwegian director Marius Holst, whose previous credits include the 1994 Cross My Heart and Hope to Die (Ti Kniver I Hjertet) and 2001’s Dragonfly (Øyenstikker).

Mirush lives in a deprived and pitiable Kosovo. His domestic situation includes his mother, an older brother and a house blanketed in dust. Ready for anything but full of nothing, the boy will learn that the world is a center for the ravenous: His mother has a lover; his brother encounters the sibylline line of a pointless death. With his twice-broken heart as baggage, Mirush leaves for gleaming Norway in search for the long-idolized father he barely knows, who runs a restaurant in Oslo. When he arrives, he will once again be taught that the world is no place for the gullible.

Directly but nonetheless subtly, playing with the dichotomy of acceptance and rejection that’s the paradigm of any immigrant’s story, stressed by forces beyond family and nationhood, Holst directs Mirush as if it was the bastard child of unequal portions of light-hearted Scorsese and adequately muddy Coppola: It’s a hot-blooded and operatic movie, aspiring to be both mythic and personal, and the result is an absolutely accessible collection of raw verse that stumble upon poetry.

As it’s repeatedly pointed out to us, Mirush (played the wondrous actor Nazif Muarremi) looks 10, acts 20, but is really only 15. More than a paradox, the child seems to contain all infants, all adults — the whole scope of manhood.

Given that perception — and to a certain degree, a film festival is an isolated universe of temporary existence where delirium and delusion melt and merge to consolidate a new flux of reality, and, therefore, a new kind of logical reasoning — Mirush could be the brother of Masha Shalaeva’s Alisa, the silent Russian siren who teaches us that desire is loss in Anna Melikyan’s Mermaid (Rusalka); or the intimate friend of Paulie, the Polish martyr on the road who enters an unfeigned Via Dolorosa to Czestochowa with his promises to the Black Virgin and an alcoholic father in Tomasz Wiszniewski’s All Will Be Well (Wszystko Bedzie Dobrze); or the blissful cousin of all the lost boys ready to die in Ilmar Raag’s The Class (Klass).

More than the death of innocence, Mirush explores the bereavement of adulthood — or, as one may also interpret it, fatherhood as a curse.