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Lumbardhi Foundation & Central State's Film Archive
"4 Tales from the Albanian Film Archive"
24 July - 29 July, 2017 

Lumbardhi Foundation in collaboration with the Central State's Film Archive present "Four tales from the Albanian Film Archives", curated by Ana Grgić and presented by prof. Julian Bejko.

“Who can say it’s not what we see with our eyes open that is distorted, and that what’s described here isn’t the true essence of things?” – Ismail Kadare, The Palace of Dreams

Why watch old Albanian communist films today? Because images, even those made during what many consider as one of the most brutal regimes in Europe, retain the essence of a people, a society, its traditions and norms, which goes beyond the surface of a mere propaganda message. Between the refusal of an uncomfortable past and the uncertainty of the present, with glimpses of nostalgia for what is lost, these images present us (Albanians, Europeans, citizens of the world) with black and white depictions of a reality which wants to imagine itself in colours. Do we suffer from too much memory as Nietzsche would say and can forgetting be good? To watch Albanian cinema of yesterday now, is a political act. Only a few months ago, The Institute for Communist Crimes proposed a ban on screening of Kinostudio era films, a debate which received much media attention in Albania leading to recent elections.

In four sessions that take place in the last week of July, we share four tales from the Albanian Film Archives that take us through Albania in the 1970s, a tumultuous decade for the country and its people. The first, Kapedani, a comedy/satire on the role of women and a commentary on profound societal challenges of progressive modernist Albania during the Hoxha regime dealing with the remnants of its traditional, patriarchal past. The second, Rrugë të Bardha, exemplifies the figure of the socialist labor martyr, the idea of a worker who sacrifices himself for the greater good of the nation, an ideological element present in other former socialist regimes. The third, Tomka dhe shokët e tij, a film for children or a children’s film, a story of a group of Albanian children resisting German occupation during World War II, a film featuring strong propaganda overtones and equally impressive neo-realist aesthetics, directed by the best-known female director of the Kinostudio era, Xhanfise Keko. The fourth, Gjeneral Gramafoni, is a critique of capitalism beyond strictly labour, but also positing notions such as civilized-backward, cultivated-barbarian etc.

Four very different films, but all four made in an era, which signalled great political and social change for Albania, and which are all evidence of Hoxha’s interest in cinema as a powerful tool for bridging education and culture for propagandistic ends.

To contextualize and present the films, our guest of the first two screenings will be prof. Julian Bejko from the University of Tirana. Films will be screened as part of the special programs of Lumbardhi Cinema. For the making of this program, Lumbardhi Foundation remains grateful to Albanian Cinema Project, DokuFest and Titron.

Screening schedule:

24 July, Monday
21:00 The Captain (1972, dir. Muharrem Fejzo)

25 July, Tuesday
21:00 White Roads (1974, dir. Viktor Gjika)

28 July, Friday
21:00 Tomka and His Friends (1977, dir. Xhanfise Keko)

29 July, Saturday
21:00 The General Gramophone (1978, dir. Viktor Gjika)
  Arkivi Qëndror
Shtetëror i Filmit

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