HAKIE – HAKI.
Living as a Man.
The theme has captivated me ever since I saw a short film about »sworn virgins«. It was a 5-minute short about Stana Ćerić from Montenegro. Despite the very reductive presentation of the topic, a spectrum of themes were hinted at, one that extends to our understanding of roles. Which social conditions lead a woman to abdicate her femininity ? What is her everyday life like? Are the motivations for a change of gender-roles plausible for others?
Can similarities to our role-templates be inferred? I asked myself to which extent our understanding of roles is imbued with archaic notions. After extensive research, I decided to travel to Albania in order to find my own answers to these questions. The trip led me to the far reaches of mountainous North Albania. It is there that I met Hakie and that I decided to make a film about her and her living conditions.
In lengthy takes, the film observes Hakie in her routines and moves closer to her step by step. The narrative sets in all those moments in which the different facets of her concept of identity become visible. Landscape, work, family relations are all of equal value and tell the story of the structural conditions and difficulties confronting the protagonist Hakie. Slowly, the contradictions of a biologically-based hierarchy of the sexes are exposed. This raises the question of the construction of identity and of gender-roles, but also the question of the documentary as such.
The film »HAKIE – HAKI. Living as a Man.« turns the curiosity and gaze of West-Europeans back on themselves. The sworn virgins in Hakie’s environment are of no special interest, yet Western media have seized this phenomena. Where does this curiosity come from? What do Western authors see in the Burrneshas? How do the Burrneshas present themselves? It was of special importance to give the protagonist a chance to comment on this interest from outside, thereby lending the film a layer of self-reflexion.
Anabela Angelovska 2015