Berlinale Forum 2011 – Amnistia

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Amnistia | Amnesty

Director: Bujar Alimani

Albania, Greece, France 2011

Albanian

Cast: Luli Bitri (Elsa), Karafil Shena (Shpetim), Todi Llupi (Remzi). Mirela Naska (Maya), Alaksander Rrapi (Fredy)

Forum

In his debut feature film, Bujar Alimani depicts the life of a woman and a man in today’s Albania, marked by unemployment, economic hardship and tribal/patriarchal social structures.

Recently sacked textile workers line up to collect their payoffs from new foreign owners, fishermen starve while working for multinational corporations. Humiliation is the norm.

As a condition for entering the EU, Albania introduces conjugal visits to its prison system. A man and a woman come together, their spouses both in custody, their monthly visits for sexual contact more like animal husbandry than human lovemaking. Foul bed in a dark room. Carry your own sheets.

Everybody in this society feels the cold.

For a brief moment, a middle-aged pair revitalize themselves through love, but then there is a general amnesty and love dies. “Morality struggles with passion and there’s a high price to pay.”

“Auteur films can make a difference in countries with a low economic level. Poor countries often provide themes and human models for outstanding subjects.“

Luli Bitri, Karafil Shena, and Mirela Naska must not be missed. As must not this film.

Read the Forum essay.

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