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A New Wave in Cinema

Watershed Media Centre is in Bristol in the south west of England. The Centre recently announced a short Albanian Film Season from 16th - 18th March. Among the films on view will be the two best known Albanian films of recent years, Slogans and Tirana Year Zero. I have the latter on a very dodgy looking DVD but have not watched it yet.

Explaining why they were running this season, Mark Cosgrove, the Head of Programme at the Centre said this:
Albanian cinema has been largely under-represented in the West, but over the past five years the stories, directing and cinematography coming out of this country has become stronger and stronger and should be seen by a wider audience.
Tirana suffers from a shortage of good venues for showing films. The local Millenium (this is how they spell it) cinema shows the usual range of western - mostly American - movies. The Black Box Theatre at the Academy of Arts shows more interesting films but obviously Albanian films in Albania don't need subtitles.

Despite this there is a very strong commitment to film and film-making here. In October the twelfth Albanian Film Festival took place, followed in December by the fourth Tirana International Film Festival. The government and the Tirana municipality are also trying to encourage and support the local film industry through the Albanian Film Commission and the National Film Centre. The latter in particular offers some financial support to younger film-makers and directors. So in the future it is possible we will see more Albanian films getting a wider distribution.

There is a good article on the Albanian film industry, even if a little dated now, on the website of a defunct journal called Kinoeye.


I saw Tirana Viti Zero just recently on pay-per-view here in good ol' US (go figure!). Aside of the breath taking arrogance of drawing an analogy in title with Berlin Year Zero, a fact that I could not get over, for I kept looking for other analogies (otherwise why have this title?), the movie was at best, ridiculous. Such low quality in the artistic sense, not even a couple of very good Albanian actors couldn't save it. I hope you got your copy as a gift. For it is not worth one red penny.
On the other hand, The Slogans is worth a couple of hours.
Check out the guy that wrote the book (and the movie); Ylljet Alickaj or such. His last book is about the "Internationals" in Albania.
Thank you for your time in Kamez. Please forgive the cheek some Albanians give you on their comments.
So long!
ourmanintirana said…

I'm surprised the film was so bad since it seemed to do so well in the festivals. Maybe it was the novelty factor. I'll watch it anyway.

I have seen Slogans for sale but I'm guessing there are no subtitles. Is the book available in English?
Anonymous said…
Tirana Year Zero . . . english subtitles
ourmanintirana said…
Thanks. Is Slogans in there too?
Adela&Radu said…
You can find Slogans with subtitles in English in Tirana or on the internet. Another really good movie by Gjergj Xhuvani is Dear Enemy, which also comes with subtitles in English and I would highly recommend. Growing up under communism I remember how the victory in WWII belonged to the party (our dear communist party) and the partisans that fought against the germans. Dear Enemy treats WWII from a completely different perspective. There are no heroes, only humans.

Great post as always!
Selfmaderadio said…
The problem with Tirana Year zero, among others, is that his director is very superficial. I met him in albanian film days in Zürich. My opinion is that he tends to concentrate in effects rather than the story. Also, I was appalled to see that the guy couldn't explain why he is doing the films he is doing, what is the concept behind and so on. I still don't know whether he didn't understand the questions or he is that much confused in his head that he cannot make the point. Like his films.
Anonymous said…
I think that Tirana Year Zero was a relative "success" because foreigners were curious to see how mysterious Tirana looks like.

On the other hand, the Albanian public is so thirsty for an Albanian movie that we encourage every little step.
Seriously, since communism I haven't seen a decent Albanian movie. I miss them!
Anonymous said…
I watched Tirana Year Zero from the above link.
The dialogues were poor and they swear too much. Albanians think that swearing is modern and cool, but in reality we don't even use 1/10 of those words in everyday life.

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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Petrela Castle

This is Petrela Castle near Tirana. The site has been fortified since the 4th century, but the oldest surviving parts are from the 13th century. Today the castle is a restaurant where you can enjoy lunch while taking in the views.