Title of the Project

Feature Film

Country of origin of the project

After 10 years of exile in Switzerland, Val decides, despite the warnings of Una, her cousin and her love of youth, to return to Kosovo to find out more about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his birth.
Upon arrival, Skender, Una’s father, is dying while a UNO team ends up exhuming a mass grave in which lie the bodies of the villagers disappeared during the war.
His return puts Val at odds with his community that considers him a traitor. Confronted with a reality of a rare violence, he will have to face a 25 years old secret that will shatter his deepest certainties.

Kosovo, village of Trimat, 1983. At the dawn of the war that will kill 25,000 people, the marriage of a Muslim Albanian and an Orthodox Serb lights a spark. Their assassination opens a wound. This secret and its consequences will resurface 25 years later.

In 2008, Val lives in Geneva where he arrived alone as a unaccompanied minor refugee in 1998, at the age of 16. The physical and psychological abuses suffered during the war in Kosovo allowed him to obtain temporary asylum. He is employed by a construction company, is passionate about astronomy and has a love affair with Calypso, without much commitment.

His adoptive parents in Kosovo and a large part of his family died during the conflict and he had little contact with his country during those 10 years. Despite the orders of his cousin Una to never come back, a call from Skender, his dying uncle, convinces him to return to Kosovo to try to solve the mystery surrounding his birth.

Upon arrival, everything has changed, under the air of modernity, the country seems like a Potemkin Village nationwide, but appearances are misleading. In the eyes of those who remained, Val is an emigrant who has succeeded, who has a situation and who is no longer interested in the past. Val will pay the high price of this perception of things: the family that remains rejects him and considers him a traitor. And Skender, the only one who seemed to be able to answer his questions, just fell into a coma.

In Trimat, his chilhood village, an international team of scientists commissioned by the UN is about to exhume a mass grave dating from the war, in which it is presumed that there are more than 200 bodies thrown there during the war. Time is suspended, waiting for the identification of the bodies. This situation and his uncle’s coma force Val to stay in Trimat, without knowing what to expect. There, he reconnects with Una, his cousin and his love of youth.

Remained single, Una could not forget her love for Val. Nevertheless, she keeps her distances, doubting the sincerity of the young man. Like the other villagers, Una thinks that Val sold the village to the Serbian troops. As their idyll is gradually reborn, she discovers a wounded and vulnerable man. Their rapprochement worries the family. Alarmed by the situation, Una’s aunt reveals a secret to her: Val is in fact Una’s brother. Una runs away to escape the truth.

While the exhumation of the mass grave is completed, a body is missing among the disappeared: that of Fatime, the sister of Skender. Val learns from the villagers’ mouths that this woman is actually his mother, to him and to Una. Meanwhile, Skender dies. He left a letter to Val: he admits the murder of his sister Fatime and her husband Ljubomir, an Orthodox Serb. By the time the war was about to begin, her sister’s marriage with this man set fire to the community and Skender’s hatred turned him into a murderer.
The discovery of this terrible secret will push Val and Una to face their childhood and the wounds caused by the war. «The Land Within Me» is a film about the possibility of truth, in a place that knows only survival.

Fisnik Maxhuni