‘Internationals’ makes Norwegian debut

‘Internationals’ makes Norwegian debut

TIRANA, Aug. 21 – A decade after its original publication, Ylljet Aliçka’s satirical novel on the international community in Albania is turning more and more international after its recent English version launch and its upcoming movie premiere. The novel by

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‘The other side of Albanian communism’

‘The other side of Albanian communism’

TIRANA, Aug. 10 – In May 1987, Dutch photojournalist Piet den Blanken visited communist Albania as part of a travelgroup of “fellow comrades.” Despite the prohibition on contact between Albanians and foreign visitors and the ban on taking streetphotos, he

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Korça Beerfest, Albania’s largest summer event

Korça Beerfest, Albania’s largest summer event

TIRANA, Aug. 10 – Thousands of Albanian and foreign tourists packed the streets of Korça, Albania’s biggest southeastern city, known for its serenades and nicknamed the “Little Paris of Albania” as its traditional beer festival kicked off on Wednesday night.

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Albania-Serbia cultural cooperation, mostly sporadic and on individual initiative

Albania-Serbia cultural cooperation, mostly sporadic and on individual initiative

By Monika Maric* Although political relations often cast a shadow on cultural cooperation, cultural exchanges between Serbia and Albania have been in constant growth. Cooperation is primarily based on individual initiatives, where networks of civil society represent the main communication

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Albanian movies, culture showcase at Kosovo’s Dokufest

Albanian movies, culture showcase at Kosovo’s Dokufest

TIRANA, Aug. 8 – Nine Albanian short films made their debut this weeks at Dokufest, Kosovo’s largest international documentary and short film festival which is holding its 16th edition in the historic city of Prizren, just 18 km from the

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Artisans, the backbone of the Kruja bazaar

Artisans, the backbone of the Kruja bazaar

Historically the Kruja bazaar, some 37 km off Tirana, has always been a lively and vibrant melting pot of artefacts, tradition, fabrics, colours, food, skills, architecture and people which altogether made this place so special. Although much has changed in

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Swiss archeologists help chart ancient Oricum port unknowns

Swiss archeologists help chart ancient Oricum port unknowns

  TIRANA, July 31 – A team from Switzerland-based Octopus Foundation will be back on a mission to Albania early next September to conduct research on the historical site of Orikum, southern Albania, whose ancient port played a crucial role

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Durres hosts eighth classical music biennale

Durres hosts eighth classical music biennale

TIRANA, July 27 – Albanian and international musicians will be performing for eight consecutive nights in the eighth edition of the classical music biennale staged in the city of Durres by internationally renowned Spain-based Albanian violin virtuoso Florian Vlashi. Art

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Photo manipulation under communism confessed through Marubi collection

Photo manipulation under communism confessed through Marubi collection

TIRANA, July 24 – Image manipulation in Albania is as old as the history of Albanian photography itself but retouching became a norm for more than 4 decades under communism when even historical pictures and documents were edited and photographers

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Albanian director’s ‘Daybreak’ picked to make world premiere at Sarajevo Film Festival

Albanian director’s ‘Daybreak’ picked to make world premiere at Sarajevo Film Festival

TIRANA, July 24 – “Daybreak,” an Albanian drama about moral compromises, has been selected to make its world premiere at the upcoming Sarajevo Film Festival, one of the leading movie events in South East Europe. The Albanian-Greek co-production directed by

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                    [post_content] => romanTIRANA, Aug. 21 - A decade after its original publication, Ylljet Aliçka's satirical novel on the international community in Albania is turning more and more international after its recent English version launch and its upcoming movie premiere.

The novel by Albanian writer and former diplomat Ylljet Aliçka has recently been published in Norwegian, adding to its international success after the initial French translation and the late 2016 English version published the R&Z Tirana Times publishing house.

Translated by Jon Kværne, by the book was brought into Norwegian by Bokvennen, one of Norway's most prestigious publishing houses as “File 12 Tirana - A story with Internationals.”

"The novel describes life in one of the international diplomatic offices settled in the post-1990s Albania, to bring the country on track to progress after several generations lost in the dictatorship regime. The thing is about irony that often shifts into bitter sarcasm which the author uses to 'weave' the contrast between the internationals' noble ideals and their everyday routine in the grey offices,” says the Norwegian publisher.

"It seems that Ylljet Aliçka has had long experience with the internationals,  no matter how much you laugh and entertain yourself with the diplomatic careers of international workers, one can't be indifferent to the bitter truth when stripped of the cover of this novel's fiction content," adds the publisher.

"Arrivism to climb the career steps is the absolute priority of the international staff or somebody who quietly and unnoticed manages to take a seat next to the ambassador in his diplomatic car. We encounter the diplomat who makes important diplomatic decisions, under the excitement of pure feelings of love... Meanwhile, another diplomat prefers picking in full secrecy the ripe fruit of the representation's front garden rather than falling victim to "the crazy local prices." For some others, the crazy office working hours serve to compile strict regulations on the temperature of sheets coming out of photocopier...!” the Bokvennen writes, highlighting some of the novel's comic situations.

The novel has also recently been made into a film whose “An Expats' Tale” trailer has already been launched.

In an interview with Europa magazine, a publication of the Albanian Institute for International Studies, the former Albanian ambassador to France says the novel’s characters include international officials, who, often anonymous at their home countries, upon arriving to Albania, after “struggling to help this country or tell locals the way to progress,” their life takes a new meaning thanks to the “indigenous” taking care and welcoming them. “This is the reason why many of the internationals cannot leave or grow so desperate when they finally leave Albania,” says Aliçka, 65, a university professor who served as Albania’s ambassador to France from 2007 to 2013.

The Tirana Times publishing house says it chose to republish the book for the unusual echo and attention it attracted and because of the topic it treats and its quality that made the writer and diplomat go beyond the borders of small country such as Albania by being published in France, most recently in Norway and already underway of getting published in Italy.

 

Also read: The Internationals: When ‘elite’ arrogance meets ignorance http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=130456

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 10 - In May 1987, Dutch photojournalist Piet den Blanken visited communist Albania as part of a travelgroup of “fellow comrades.”

Despite the prohibition on contact between Albanians and foreign visitors and the ban on taking streetphotos, he managed to take many pictures of Albanians and their daily life under the communist regime.

Thirty years later, his pictures are back to Tirana as part of a travelling exhibition featuring twelve Dutch photographers looking back on the work they made in Central and Eastern Europe between 1979 and 1991.

“Albania was one of the most closed countries in Europe until 1990. It was difficult to travel to Albania, similar to the way it is difficult for travel to travel to North Korea. The only way to photograph in Albania was to visit the country as a tourist with a group tour led by an Albanian guide," says photographer Piet de Blanken as quoted by the exhibition’s organizers.

De Blanken, now in his 60s, photographed especially early in the morning and late in the day.

During the day, he followed the official group program. In this way, he tried to get another image of the country, an image that was not shown in the official group program. In addition, he was repeatedly brought back by the police to a group and guide because it was not the intention of a westerner to explore and photograph the environment alone.

By the end of the trip, his films and stuff were seized. The ‘Whites’ were already prepared for the various incidents with the police, so he had given his full shot of precautionary films to a group member. Johan Janse hid the movies in his luggage and took out the country thanks to him to see these photos here.

The 12 Dutch photographers showcased in the travelling "The other side" exhibition were witnesses of historical moments, such as the emergence of the Polish trade union Solidarnosc in Gdansk in 1980, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Romanian revolution of 1989.

Supported by the Dutch embassy in Tirana, 'The other side of Albanian communism' exhibition will be open at Tirana's National History Museum from August 17 to 30.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 10 – Thousands of Albanian and foreign tourists packed the streets of Korça, Albania’s biggest southeastern city, known for its serenades and nicknamed the “Little Paris of Albania” as its traditional beer festival kicked off on Wednesday night.

The city’s main streets have been specially decorated and street signs placed in Albanian and English to orient visitors about the festival sites.

Beer, traditional dishes such as the Kernacka meatballs and the Lakror pie, serenades and music performances will accompany Albanian and foreign visitors holidaying in the country for five nights until Sunday, August 13.

The festival is also an opportunity for holidaymakers in the neighbouring lake town of Pogradec and other Albanian coastal destinations to temporarily escape the heatwave and visit Korça, a city where temperatures are about 5 degrees Celsius lower, boasting one of the country’s richest cultural heritage.

Korça Mayor Sotiraq Filo says this festal will bring thousands of local visitors and foreign tourists to the city.

"It's the 11 edition of this festival which is organized by the Korça municipality. It is undoubtedly the biggest summer festival not only in the city of Korça, but the whole of Albania, a festival which lasts for five nights, culminating at weekend," Filo has told reporters.

"The novelty in this year's festival is that the festival will take place in two sites, at the Korça old bazaar where there will be young singers and rock bands performing while the local Skenderbeu stadium will be the site of massive celebration," added Filo.

An Israeli DJ will also be performing in the festival as a special guest.

"The beer fest is a really special event where people have the opportunity to consume quality beer and mix that with music and entertainment for five consecutive nights," an Italian tourist of Albanian origin was quoted as saying by local media.

Within 5 days, over 100,000 people are expected to visit the festival. Organizers say the large number of visitors is mostly due to basic festival principles: free entrance, an exceptional music program, and a wide range of foreign and domestic beer brands.

In the 2013 edition, Guns N’ Roses’ lead guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal performed in Korça as part of the festival.

Korça is also home to the first beer brewed in Albania, the Birra Korça. The local brewery produces a Blonde Ale Pilsner and a Dark Pilsner.

Beer Fest, which marks the climax of the tourist season in Korça, brings together Albanian and foreign breweries.

Back in 2010, the Albanian Tourism Association handed the Korça beer fest the Albanian Tourism Award for promoting tourism in one of the country’s largest cities.

Korça has recently had its medieval art museum and 19th century bazaar revitalized.

Nicknamed “The small Paris of Albania” and the “City of serenades,” the southeastern Albania city of Korça, also features a prehistoric museum, a national education museum where the first Albanian language school opened in 1878 and the Vangjush Mio house museum.

The historical town of Korça has a well-preserved historical center with cobblestone streets and many surviving villas that were built in the early 20th century, says the Western Balkans Geotourism Mapguide portal about Korça. From 1916 – 1920, the town was under French control and eventually it was declared an autonomous region with French support. The continental influence resulted in the construction of neoclassical villas, two famous cinemas and a tradition of photography and art appreciation. Korça was known at one point as the “Paris of Albania.” The town is also famous for its Orthodox churches, including the oldest surviving Orthodox church in Albania, the Church of St. Mary in the village of Mborja, just outside the city.

In addition to the Beer Festival, Korça is also known for its popular Carnival and Lakror pie festivals. Famous for its massive apple production, the city hall is also planning to organize the second Apple Festival next October, promoting local apple, juice and jam.

Each year international artists come together in Korça to create sculptures for local parks and paint.
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                    [post_content] => By Monika Maric*

Although political relations often cast a shadow on cultural cooperation, cultural exchanges between Serbia and Albania have been in constant growth. Cooperation is primarily based on individual initiatives, where networks of civil society represent the main communication channel

Potential membership in the European Union (EU) is the main foreign policy priority of both Serbia and Albania. In accordance with their European orientation, both Serbia and Albania are willing to prove their commitment to the promotion of regional cooperation. After 2005, Serbia and Albania have signed the following joint documents: agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, agreement on economic and trade cooperation, agreement on cooperation in tourism and several protocols.

Although political relations often cast a shadow on cultural cooperation, cultural exchanges between Serbia and Albania have been in constant growth. Cooperation is primarily based on individual initiatives, where networks of civil society represent the main communication channel. Since 2000, various institutions, art groups, amateur theaters and others, have established cooperation and constant exchange of cultural content. To mention only a few of them, there’s the participation of the Children's Cultural Center from Belgrade at the Children's Festival in Durres (October 2007), the 2009 Serbian-Albanian co-production of the "Honeymoon" movie by Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic in cooperation with Genc Permeti from Albania.

The main channels of official cooperation, at the state level, have been established through multilateral initiatives and programs such as the Council of Ministers of Culture of South East Europe (First Round Table: Tourism, Culture and Inter-University Cooperation), Cultural Heritage: The Bridge to a Common Future in the field of culture and cultural heritage established in 2004).

In 2016, the Forum for International Relations of the European Movement in Serbia (IPA) and the Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) launched the project on the Joint Centre for Albania-Serbia Relations, with the support of the Federal Republic of Germany. The cooperation between Serbia and Albania has a strategic importance for the European integration of the Western Balkans. Main obstacles to the establishment of normal and fruitful relations between Albania and Serbia include the lack of knowledge about each other and the lack of opportunity for contact and mutual cooperation. Bearing all this in mind, the Albanian Institute for International Studies initiated the establishment of a joint center that would encourage interaction between experts, journalists, researchers, artists and decision-makers of the two countries. The project will help young people fight against mutual prejudice, pave the way for media cooperation etc.

 

20th century cultural relations

During the 20th century, Albania-Serbia relations included short periods of cooperation and good neighborly relations. The first official contracts between the National Committee for the Liberation of Yugoslavia (NKOJ) and the Provisional Government of Albania were set on 20 February 1945. For the beginning of cultural support and help by the Yugoslav authorities to a neighbor, it was of great importance Article 5 of the Treaty on Association and Mutual Assistance between Albania and Yugoslavia that insisted on maximizing the development of cultural and economic cooperation.

On July 20, 1946, the Albanian State Choir performed in Rijeka and in Opatija. After that, the stay of the Yugoslav art group during 1947 in Albania lasted for 23 days. During this time, members of the group performed in 17 events and three radio shows. There were also attempts to organize an art exhibition. Cooperation also involved the education of Albanian cultural workers in Yugoslavia, in Zagreb. The Albanian Committee for Culture and Art sought cooperation, and in particular the creation of repertoires (programs and texts for Albanian art institutions), they sought professional literature on theater arts, school programs for music, theater and painting schools. Albanian cultural workers received the greatest help in the development of classical music. For this purpose, the Yugoslav Committee for Culture and Art sent a conductor and music professor Bojan Adamič. At the beginning of May 1947, a mixed choir was established with the association for the cultural cooperation of Albania with Yugoslavia in Tirana. The conductor of the choir was Milo Asic. After 1 July 1948, all interstate agreements were terminated.

 

Literature

The Department for Albanology (Albanian Studies) at the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade has a long tradition in educating new generations of teachers of Albanian language, literature and culture. According to the latest curriculum or the faculty, each year there are 19 places for the future students at the department. Since 1990, 283 students have been enrolled in this department, with 69 of them having successfully graduated by May 2010. This Faculty has cooperation agreements with the universities of Shkodra and Tirana. Currently, two professors from the University of Shkodra are teaching at the Faculty of Philology as visiting professors. In May 2010, the Department hosted a delegation from the University of Tirana.

Although it has been more than twenty years since diplomatic relations between Serbia and Albania were renewed, and in recent years there were regular visits and meetings between government officials including a cultural cooperation deal, literary cooperation between Serbian and Albanian authors remains at an extremely low level. Literature from Albania available in Serbian remains limited to several old Kadare novels and some isolated translation in anthologies or a "missed" translation from surrounding countries.

On 26 May 2017, the Joint Center for Albanian-Serbian Relations organized the cultural event "Unknown Albanian literature," dedicated to the Serbian-Albanian literary and cultural cooperation. The aim of this event was to get acquainted with the contemporary literature of Albania, to present the latest translations, and encourage its publication as a comprehensive anthology, as the countries in the region already have. In addition, this meeting was at the same time an opportunity to consider opportunities for broader literary and cultural cooperation between Serbia and Albania. Among the guests from Albania was also Arian Leka, (Durres, 1966), a prominent Albanian poet, essayist and translator, and founder of the influential magazine and cultural club "Poeteka", which promotes translations and cooperation in the Balkans.

As for the translation from Albanian to Serbian language and vice versa, until now the following books have been translated from Albanian:

 

Ismail Kadare 

The General of the Dead army (1968)

The Siege (1977)

Chronicle in Stone (1979)

The Palace of Dreams (1991)

The Fall of the Stone City (2008)

The Belgrade-based publishing house "Književna radionica Rašić" has published in Serbian language "Ormar", a book of essays by writer Arian Leka. The book consists of two main parts: "In search of the lost shirt" and the essay "Born in the Province". The book, translated by Natalija Žaba Stojilković and Sabri Halili, is accompanied by a preface by writer Andrej Nikolaidis, one of the most esteemed literary authors of the region.

In 2006, two books from Milovan Djilas were translated into Albanian: “The Unperfect Society: Beyond the New Class” and “The face of totalitarianism.”

Ivo Andric has had his Bosnian (Travnik’s) chronicles (2012) translated into Albanian. It is interesting that the books of Vuk Draskovic, who is a politician, were translated into Albanian language. They include “The Judge” and “The Memoirs of Jesus.”

Two of Milorad Pavic's books have also been translated into Albanian - Dictionary of the Khazars (2012) and collection of the “Terrible Love Story.”

Albanian publisher Onufri has published the luxury edition of Hazar, while Nikola Sudar did much to bring Serbian literature closer to Albania with the translation of “Terrible Love Stories.” Both books had a solemn promotion at the latest Book Fair in Tirana.

Chief-editor Lidija Kusovac said that the publishing house "Samizdat B92", which has been operating for 23 years, has paid special attention to books by Albanian authors and is also planning to provide translation of Serbian titles into the Albanian language.

During 2016, in addition to the novel "The Palace of Dreams" of Kadare, they repurchased the copyright for his collection of stories that will soon come out. "Samizdat" has published, following the "Millionaire" novel and essay publications under the title "Ambassador and other Heretic Notes", another novel by Veton Surroi - "All Love of Marija Gjakoni".

"Samizdat" also translated and published in Serbian "Sacrifice," the latest book by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama on the eve of his 2016 visit to Belgrade. And in Albanian, this publisher translated the first and second autobiography of famous actor Bekim Fehmiu "Brilliant and terrifying".

"Samizdat B92" also published bilingually, in Serbian and Albanian, the book of Petrit Imami "Serbs and Albanians through the ages", which demystifies established historical misconceptions about Serbian-Albanian relations.

 

Filmography

“The Hornet” is a 1998 Serbian drama film directed by Gorčin Stojanovic. The film tells about love between Albanians and Serb women on the eve of the war in Kosovo.

“Besa” (Solemn Promise) is a 2009 Serbian drama film directed by Srđan Karanović. The film was selected as the Serbian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards, but did not make it to the final shortlist. The film portrays the drama between Azem, an Albanian man, and Lea, a Slovenian woman married to Filip, a Serb. The film speaks about love, the sacred Albanian promise ‘Besa’, as well as the cultural, ethnic, and language barriers in the Balkans. The movie shows how the sacred given word can be stronger than love and temptation.

“Honeymoon” is the first Serbian-Albanian film from 2009. It was directed by Goran Paskaljevic, who also wrote the script along with Genc Permeti. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 5, 2009, and had its Belgrade premiere in November 2009.

Honeymoon, as the first Serbian-Albanian co-production, at least attempts to demolish self-imposed barriers and unnecessary taboos.

“I honestly believe that the Honeymoon can be an important step in the process of approaching two nations who have been living since forever as neighbors, but who turned their back to each other,” Goran Paskaljevic has told Serbian magazine “Vreme” in an interview.

“Certainly, cultural cooperation with Albania will continue to develop,” he added.

Other sporadic cooperation events include mixed theater performances and classical music in Tirana and in Belgrade.

 

Cooperation prospects

Future cultural cooperation should continue to be based on individual initiatives, but the governments both in Serbia and Albania have to support and encourage initiatives, events, travel and other exchanges.

Bearing in mind everything that has been done so far in the field of culture, but mostly in the past few years, I believe that cultural cooperation will increase. As we can see, both sides are interested in getting to know the neighborhood literature, so publishing houses are also interested in translating and publishing books. Both sides are interested in movies, theater performance and music (about what I will write on another occasion). Student exchanges should increase, there should be more summer camps and school to overcome prejudice and learn about culture. Young people should be familiar with cultural festivals and events that exist in both countries. The media plays a key role in promoting culture, so both countries should be promoted this way.

*Monika Marić has graduated in Albanian language from the University of Belgrade at the Albanian Language Department of the Faculty of Philology.  She is currently doing a “Cultures in dialogue” Master’s at the University of Belgrade. Monika is the third Serbian fellow of the Centre for Albania-Serbia Relations at the Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) in Tirana.

 
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_133502" align="alignright" width="300"]Robert Bisha & Albanian Iso-Polyphonic Choir at Kalaja stage Photo by: Tughan Anıt Robert Bisha & Albanian Iso-Polyphonic Choir at Kalaja stage
Photo by: Tughan Anıt[/caption] TIRANA, Aug. 8 - Nine Albanian short films made their debut this weeks at Dokufest, Kosovo's largest international documentary and short film festival which is holding its 16th edition in the historic city of Prizren, just 18 km from the Albania-Kosovo border. The Albanian movies competed in the national category where several Kosovo and Albanian-Macedonian directors showcased their latest productions. The Albanian atmosphere at this year's festival was also present with a concert by the Albanian Iso-Polyphonic Choir featuring Italy-based Kosovo jazz pianist Robert Bisha and an exhibition showcasing pictures by the landmark Marubi museum of photography in Shkodra with a rich collection dating back to the mid-19th century when Albania was still in the Ottoman Empire to span to the 20th century independence, monarchy and communism eras. More than 250 documentaries and short films from 63 countries are being showcased in six categories of this year's festival taking place at the historic town of Prizren from August 4 to 12. Documentary photo exhibitions, debates, master classes and lively music performances are also part of the 9-day festival. The ‘Future’ has been selected as this year's festival theme, reflecting the organizers’ “concerns and hopes, but above all belief that a better future is possible, and that it is coming.” "You can call us unfounded optimists or senseless utopians, but we have watched a lot of recent movies and heard sounds that continuously prove the opposite," says festival director Veton Nukollari. International films selected in the festival bring stories from war-torn Syria and Iraq, famous presidents, musicians and visionaries to Japan's legendary ama women shellfish divers. The festival is also a good opportunity for tourists in Albania’s coastline to temporarily escape the heat wave and visit Prizren, only two-and-a-half-hour drive from Tirana. A study has shown that apart from reinvigorating cultural life in Kosovo, the festival which usually lasts for ten days also has a huge economic impact on the town of Prizren and its local businesses considering thousands of local and foreign visitors packing the town. The festival is estimated to trigger spending of about €4 million by visitors in accommodation, meals and shopping.   Albanian films competing in the festival   Bon Appétit Albania, 2016, 18 min Director: Erenik Beqiri Starring: Arben Bajraktaraj, Romir Zalla, Ema Andrea Synopsis: A man wanders in the dark tunnels of an abandoned building until he finds a table waiting for him and the Waiter ready to serve a special dinner made only of human meat. A challenge for his appetite.   City of Walls Albania, 2016, 22 min Director: Eneos Çarka Synopsis: This documentary gives an insight on the street art & graffiti culture in Tirana, Albania. During the shooting process, the City Hall interferes in the art scene with their own project and creates a conflict with a political street art collective.   Decommunism Kosovo/Albania, 2017, 7 min Director: Enxhi Noni Synopsis: Is it possible to grasp the meaning of the future by accepting only the present and leaving the past behind? A delicate medley of these notions, regarding the historical and cultural background of Albania. Do youngsters dare be disturbed?   Ethnophobia Albania/Greece, 2016, 14 min Director: Joan Zhonga Synopsis: Survival, clash and symbiosis go side by side; all accompanied by bursts of joy and pain as a result of man’s internal need to find and exaggerate differences when similarities are obviously greater.   Giulia Kosovo/Albania, 2017, 5 min Director: Rigers Shimaj Synopsis: Giulia is an 18 years old girl, living and dreaming in Tirana. Her passion lives on two wheels and her challenges begin with the first step she takes out there in the world.   Heaven has been fooled Albania, 2016, 13 min Director: Odeta Ҫunaj Starring: Alban Ukaj, Astrit Alihajdaraj, Odeta Ҫunaj Synopsis: Vesa, a former singer, meets a fan of hers who tries to shed light on her life.   Plastic Flowers Albania, 2017, 29 min Director: Ylljet Aliçka Starring: Robert Ndrenika, Suzana Prifti, Elia Zaharia Synopsis: An old couple from the Albanian countryside, receive a wedding invitation from a close relative in the capital city. At first they are very enthusiastic, but soon the indifferent and snobbish people around, make them feel unwelcome.   These sounds taste synthetic Kosovo/Albania, 2017, 7 min Director: Gretel Dani Synopsis:  Sometimes you don’t have the option of closing your eyes because reality happens so fast and enters your memory. I cannot say which emotions have come and gone, I only know that feeling lost no longer holds a place in me. There are sounds telling you it is going to be better. Listen to the music.   They Albania, 2016 Director: Emiljo Leka Synopsis:  In the past 25 years of democracy, Albania has been suffering from a family-related blood feud phenomenon over a piece of land. The story of this short movie is about two cousins, 12-year-old Adi and 9-year-old Soni. They are cousins and they are like brothers to each other. Their fathers co-own a piece of land that Soni’s father has unilaterally decided to divide in two parts.  A true family drama takes place after the land is divided, completely changing their daily routines.         [post_title] => Albanian movies, culture showcase at Kosovo’s Dokufest [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => albanian-movies-culture-showcase-at-kosovos-dokufest [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-08 17:08:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-08 15:08:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=133501 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 133458 [post_author] => 29 [post_date] => 2017-08-04 10:37:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-04 08:37:59 [post_content] => qelesheHistorically the Kruja bazaar, some 37 km off Tirana, has always been a lively and vibrant melting pot of artefacts, tradition, fabrics, colours, food, skills, architecture and people which altogether made this place so special. Although much has changed in the past decades, the artisans in Kruja still work here and they represent the backbone of the bazaar. Their golden hands have the capacity to recreate and reinterpret centuries of history and cultural heritage and turn it into beautiful artisanal products. That is how a guide called Artisans of Kruja, describes the characteristic local bazaar in Kruja, a town known as the stronghold of Albania’s 15th century national hero, Skanderbeg. Thanks to a project funded by the American Albanian Development Foundation (AADF) and implemented by Cultural Heritage without Borders Albania (CHwB Albania the local bazaar infrastructure has been upgraded and the artisanship sector revitalized. With the help of an international designer, Vesna Avarmovska, the artisans have created a unique line of products, which have a wide variety of forms and prices, attractive to both the local and tourist markets. The traditional products improved by advising the artisans on how to merge the historical techniques with modern methods. Moreover, a well experienced senior artisan, originally from Shkodra, Kristina Mjeda helped them to develop the new products; using new raw material; mixing textiles with other materials in order to create a unique combination of handicraft souvenirs, improving traditional techniques and monitoring the production phase. “Artisans of Kruja” represents an important contribution to the revitalisation of the bazaar of Kruja, which AADF has recently invested in restoring. Besides the physical intervention, the creation of TID Kruja (Tourism Improvement District) has contributed towards the promotion of tourism and protection of cultural heritage in the city. “Artisans of Kruja” believes that it contributed towards a unified and distinctive Albanian brand, which sapiently blends tradition and contemporariness, launching the new face of Kruja.   Idriz Çela Head of the TID Kruja Board “Tourism Improvement District” (TID Kruja) started operating in the beginning of 2016. Its goal is the promotion of traditional values that help support the development of the tourism sector in the historic centre of Kruja, for the benefit and interest of the local community. TID Kruja has also raised awareness and undertaken concrete actions to preserve the cultural heritage through the originality of local products. From this perspective the collaboration with CHwB Albania has been fruitful in increasing the variation of products offered, raising the values of the bazaar and adapting handworks with contemporary needs. Through similar initiatives, such as “Traditional Costumes Fashion Day”, or “Employment Incitement Program” (offered by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth), we want to increase the variety of products and services offered in the bazaar. We also hope to raise awareness so that the younger generation can come closer to the idea of artisanship and pass on this tradition from generation to generation.   Vesna Avramovska Designer, marketing expert  I like the bazaar in Kruja very much. I admire the shops, products and craftspeople every time. What I tried to do while working for the project “Artisans of Kruja” is to focus on building up the trust in traditional values and products among the producers, shopkeepers and tourists. Generally speaking, artisans need to have more confidence in the great craftsmanship they offer and also be more willing to take part in initiatives that can help them take the necessary steps towards the needs of the consumers. It is a long process, of course. One has to keep an open mind, be curious, experiment with new products and listen to the feedback of the customers. I’m confident that the artisans of Kruja are on the right track. This is how I see the young generation playing an active role. There is a hidden treasure in the bazaar of Kruja, which can serve as a great inspiration for them. They must learn the traditional skills in order to make great designs which would be attractive for new customers. They are the ones that can bring some fresh air to Kruja. With support of platforms such as the project “Artisans of Kruja”, I am sure that Kruja Bazaar will become a nice and welcoming spot. I imagine Kruja Bazaar as a place where traditional techniques are utilized in production of products for the tourist market and also for the needs of everyday living.   Kristina Mjeda, Product developer, production expert I believe that the bazaar in Kruja has unique values for our country because, besides its historic and architectural landscape, it is enriched by the talented artisans working there. Based on my experience as an artisan and as a businesswoman I think that the bazaar is on the right path towards further development, through which it will be able to better accommodate the needs of an ever-changing market. In this perspective I think that the “Artisans of Kruja” project, implemented by CHwB Albania, has been very fruitful for the artisans. We have created close relationships among each other. I have tried to transmit four generations of my family’s experience with artisanship and I take back from the artisans a great amount of commitment and desire to improve their standing in the market. The young generation has a big role in this aspect. Their inclusion would be a guaranteed success as they are the most appropriate to bring the needed changes in the bazaar. I believe that this will happen in the near future. Also, I wish the artisans to be successful and to represent their tradition according to the contemporary trends in the best way possible. I wish the work we have done through this project to serve as a basis for the artisans to take steps towards the future that we all aspire to.   Arjana Cerhozi Kilim maker It was my mother’s passion that first introduced me to the loom at the age of 14, in the former Artistic- handmade enterprises. Once you’re taught a craft you never forget; that is why for the past 35 years it is all I have done. We have always produced handworks, but since 2005 we’ve had a constant business in this. In my workshop I give importance to hosting the clients. They can’t imagine our handwork until they see us working on the loom. Once they do, they’re amazed at how this can all be done by hand. We regularly have students visit our workshop and when they see us working they remain quite shocked. Often they come and go without ever trying to work on the loom themselves. I’d be very happy to teach them just for the pleasure of passing on this tradition. When I get to talk to them, I tell them about a 70 year old lady that comes from Kavaja to Kruja just to learn how to weave on the loom. The “Artisans of Kruja” project gives us the opportunity to deepen our knowledge and I wish the next generation to follow this example as we are the last to continue this tradition. I hope the involvement of the younger generation will prevent this beautiful craft and this ancient tradition from vanishing.   Xhevdet Bardhi Kilim maker For 26 years now we have produced and sold kilims, entirely handmade in Albania, from the woolen thread, to its colors. It is not an easy job. We don’t just simply sell objects; our products are a reflection of the cultural heritage of our city and our region. It is the crafts, the artisans, the rugs, the kilims, the table cloths and the woven scarves that attract people towards Kruja. A product bought in the bazaar, with its patterns, symbols and different models, represents a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Our greatest obstacle is that we are slowly loosing the last generation of artisans that know how to weave on the loom, which is why it is important to attract the younger generation towards this tradition. I am sure that those who learn will love it, just as we do, and they will be very successful. The project Artisans of Kruja” helped us to move towards the future by bringing a larger variety of products in a way that appeals to contemporary standards.   Ndriçim Guni Qeleshe maker In our family, felt working is a tradition passed on from generation to generation. In the beginning it was my grandfather, then my father, me and now my son. I remember when my father would make me learn this craft at the age of 20. In the beginning I was not attracted to it, but with time the will of our ancestors had its weight on me. Now I have been able to include my son in this tradition and I look forward to the day that I can teach my grandchildren. It is hard work that requires a lot of sacrifices and every member of the family and every room of our house are included in it. Despite the long effort, every process is important and beautiful to me, but I’d like to emphasize working with the qeleshe, the Albanian traditional white felt hat, which is the basis of our craftsmanship.   Eelida Çela Traditional costumes I come from a simple family and out of four sisters I was the only one to inherit this tradition from my mother. When the bazaar was open to private businesses, we opened this small shop. At first we were selling antiques, but as the interest for our beautiful tradition of handmade national costumes grew, I came back to artisanship. To me it is more than an everyday job, it is an immeasurable wealth. I find it to be a very beautiful craft that preserves the past and I enjoy working very much, but it requires a great amount of passion. Before they would teach us hand working at school and I still remember the teacher that taught me embroidery. I am happy to see art or textile students coming and asking for details of the process of creating a traditional costume and I wish I had a group of students I could teach, in order to prevent us from loosing this tradition. For those that love beauty and working independently, this type of job is very rewarding. The “Artisans of Kruja” project has given us great ideas. Besides our continuous work with consultants I’d emphasize the importance of the business trips we had in Greece, Bosnia and Macedonia . Meeting the local artisans, talking with them, visiting their work spaces and their shops has inspired us to start developing new products and undertaking small improvements in our shops.   Lindita Herri Embroiderer I first started working with embroidery in 1981, first as a student for six months and then as an employee. When the political system changed, so did the work structure, so my husband and I started working with traditional costumes. The work is very attractive and we do it with great passion. Personally, I believe that weaving traditional costumes is a thing of great beauty. Each day we get a different request and everything we do we adapt it to our customers, while preserving our old tradition. Kruja has a lot of visitors, Albanian, foreigners, kids, youngsters. They all like embroidery, but no one seems to be interested to start working, as it seems too difficult. It would be very good if we managed to attract the young generation towards artisanship. I believe that this moment will come in the future, when we’ll be able to transmit our old tradition. I would love to pass it on, together with all its secrets and tricks. The “Artisans of Kruja” project has been a great impetus by opening new perspectives to us. We have worked hard on the new designs and many of them have been successful.     [post_title] => Artisans, the backbone of the Kruja bazaar [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => artisans-the-backbone-of-the-kruja-bazaar [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-04 10:37:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-04 08:37:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=133458 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 133433 [post_author] => 29 [post_date] => 2017-07-31 14:38:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-31 12:38:17 [post_content] =>   TIRANA, July 31 - A team from Switzerland-based Octopus Foundation will be back on a mission to Albania early next September to conduct research on the historical site of Orikum, southern Albania, whose ancient port played a crucial role in Roman emperor Julius Caesar’s ascent to total domination. Archaeologists from Tirana and the University of Geneva, UNIGE, will investigate the remains that were found in the lagoon right next to the forgotten city. “The basis for the 2017 expedition will be the 2016 aerial map, which highlighted many remains sticking out of the lagoon’s seafloor,” the Swiss nonprofit foundation said in a statement. Krisztian Gal, an archaeologist mandated by the UNIGE, will try to figure out if some of these remains belong to the ancient port that was described by Julius Caesar in his books on the Roman Civil War. According to him, working underwater “always requires more preparation than working on dry land”, yet he doesn’t think that the site of Oricum should present any specific difficulties. To accompany the scientists, the Octopus Foundation which has been conducting research into Oricum since 2012, says it will bring all of its marine knowledge and skills, along with its fleet of drones to photograph the site. "They're using all the latest tools, from drones to photogrammetry to graphic novels, to tell engaging stories about the history of these places," says David Lang, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. The Octopus Foundation Albania trip in the first two weeks of September 2017 is part of a bigger mission to chart unknowns below the Mediterranean, which the group says may harbor some 750,000 wrecks from antiquity on the seafloor. Back in 2016, a team of the Swiss foundation produced several aerial and underwater documentations of one of the stone quarries in the Bay of Vlorë. A 3D model was created from these documentations, which highlighted the staggering amount of stone that was once extracted from the Karaburun’s rocky point. Major discoveries made in Oricum, a site largely unexplored until a decade ago include, a public building with a unique architecture, a monumental fountain, one of the doors to the city and an intact tomb. Swiss archeologists describe the ancient port of Orikum as one of Europe’s forgotten archaeological treasures. “Modern Albania withholds numerous forgotten archaeological treasures. One of them is the ancient city of Oricum, where a key event in Julius Caesar’s ascent to total domination took place. The communist era that isolated the country for most of the 20th century preserved this fascinating site until today, as archaeologists have only recently started their research,” says the Octopus Foundation. Oricum was the first port captured by Caesar on his pursuit of Pompey, explains the Swiss archaeologist Gionata Consagra. “After several short mentions, a battle took place in the city. While describing it, Caesar gave us very precise topographical details. Incredibly, they match the actual landscape. It leads us to believe there were very few topographical changes in the past 2000 years, as the sea still ends roughly at the same place,” he is quoted as saying by Octupus Foundation. Julien Pfyffer, the founder and president of the Octopus Foundation, says Oricum was a highly strategic port. “It is situated at the crossroad of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea. It hosted this crucial episode of Julius Caesar’s military career, at the very beginning of the Great Roman Civil War. A bloody battle opposing two very clever strategists fighting for the ultimate power,” says Pfyffer. “It was incredibly risky to reach and conquer this position. Caesar’s story could have very well ended abruptly at sea, in the storm. Looking into ancient Oricum, it’s looking through pages of history books that remain surprisingly empty,” he adds. Scanning the southern Albanian waters along the Riviera coastline, a U.S.-Albanian expedition has discovered numerous amphoras and artefacts in the past decade, including ancient Greek, Roman, medial and modern finds. Dozens of wreck sites including warships and armoured vehicles have also been discovered. Back in 2007, the mission discovered an ancient shipwreck near the waters of Butrint archeological park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in southern Albania, before tracing a giant cargo ship believed to have sunk during World War II in the waters of Karaburun peninsula, Vlora, close to Orikum, four years later. Pictures of the rare ancient items were put on display in Tirana pedestrian zone earlier this year in a bid to raise awareness about their preservation and make them a new tourist attraction in the country’s emerging tourism industry. [post_title] => Swiss archeologists help chart ancient Oricum port unknowns [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => swiss-archeologists-help-chart-ancient-oricum-port-unknowns [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-31 14:38:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-31 12:38:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=133433 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 133397 [post_author] => 29 [post_date] => 2017-07-28 09:32:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-28 07:32:19 [post_content] => TIRANA, July 27 - Albanian and international musicians will be performing for eight consecutive nights in the eighth edition of the classical music biennale staged in the city of Durres by internationally renowned Spain-based Albanian violin virtuoso Florian Vlashi. Art and power is the focus of this year's edition which will tour some of the landmark sites of Durres, Albania's second largest city and the traditional top tourist destination, from August 1 to 8. The biennale also revives cultural life in Durres, already at its peak tourist season, and comes soon after the coastal city hosted an international chamber music festival. "The festival's most important part is the 'Quartet for the end of time' written in the 20th century and whose music was played in the notorious Nazi camp Stalag VIII on an icy January day of 1941. That is why the biennale's idea is art as hope," says Vlashi, the internationally renowned Albanian violinist. "The whole festival has been built in this respect. This is the reason why we have dedicated one of the festival nights which we have named ‘In search of lost music’ to exactly those authors who were persecuted as many works have been left aside. One of them is Palok Kurti's work, a piano sonata, that will make its premiere," adds the festival's founder. Florian Vlashi is a 54-year-old Durres-born violinist who has been living and performing in Spain for the past two decades. The biennale's 2015 edition brought Spanish sounds under the motto “Spain: A musical journey in Cervantes’s home” bringing different genres of classical music and three ensembles from Spain, Kosovo and Albania. Theprevious 2013 edition marked “700 years of music in Durres, tracing the history of music in the ancient coastal city of Durres starting with 14th century musician Jan Kukuzeli to continue with some 15th and 17th century performances. The biennale made its inaugural edition in 2003 “in a natural manner and in just the right moment and place, as all things that seem predestined do.” “Spending the holidays in my home city of Durres I would reunite every evening with my old friends from school. There, between endless talks, memories, beers and laughs, we would play the Mozart Quintets. In the end, we decided to perform these beautiful works for the public,” says Vlashi. Since 1996, Florian Vlashi has been directing the chamber group Camerata Brigantina and the Grupo Instrumental Siglo XX, which is formed of soloists of the OSG, premiering more than 80 works by Spanish composers, some commissioned by the group itself. Durres is one of the country’s busiest cities during summer when it is flocked by dozens of thousands of tourists enjoying its beaches and cultural heritage sites. In addition to the landmark amphitheater and archeological museum, the port city of Durres offers tourists attractions such as the Roman thermal baths, the Byzantine wall with its towers, the Byzantine forum, the Venetian tower, the Arapaj Basilica and the ethnographic museum.     Classical Music Nights Biennale programme: August 1, 20:00, Aleksander Moisiu theatre hall "Bach Dynasty" Durres Youth Orchestra Soloists: F. Vlashi, I. Nanushi    Young Stars Night August 2, "Jan Kukuzeli" music school Young talent competition   Classical Music Night August 3, 20:00, St. Lucy cathedral
  1. Haydn, Mother Teresa lyrics
Seven Last Words of Christ Jesus on the Cross Soloists: F. Vlashi, I. Nanushi, A. Llozi, R. Lukaçi, P. Kabo   Outdoor Music August 4 Concerts in hospitals, orphanage, home for the elderly etc. "Violin making in Albania" August 4, 20:00, Aleksander Moisiu theatre hall
  1. Sinani, violin maker.
  Piano Music Night August 5, 20:00, Durres Archaeological Museum Bach, Grieg, Silvestri, Gaqi, Piazzolla, Joplin etc. Soloists: Gaqi Piano Duo   Albanian Music Night August 6, 20:00, Archaeological Museum, "Looking for lost music" Palok and Lec Kurti, R. Sokoli, P. Jakova etc. Soloists: E. Golemi, I. Pulizo, R. Deda, N. Kume, A. Tila   Romantic Music Night August 7, 20:00, Durres Archaeological Museum "Pilgrimage years" Albeniz & Listz Daniel del Pino, piano   Modern Music Night August 8, 20:00, Durres Archaeological Museum "Byblical Message"
  1. Part-Fratres
  2. Messiaen "Quartet for the End of Time”
Soloists: F.Vlashi, F. Charpentier, R. Prokopenko, D. Del Pino   [post_title] => Durres hosts eighth classical music biennale [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => durres-hosts-eighth-classical-music-biennale [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-28 09:33:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-28 07:33:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=133397 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 133373 [post_author] => 29 [post_date] => 2017-07-25 10:48:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-25 08:48:26 [post_content] => TIRANA, July 24 - Image manipulation in Albania is as old as the history of Albanian photography itself but retouching became a norm for more than 4 decades under communism when even historical pictures and documents were edited and photographers worked under self-imposed censorship. The manipulation saga has been documented by Albania’s sole National Photography Museum called Marubi where Albanian photography traces its beginnings in the mid-19th century with the opening of the first studio. Luçjan Bedeni, the director of the Marubi museum, says the upcoming “Manipulation” exhibition at the Marubi museum in the northern Albanian city of Shkodra is aimed at shedding light on retouched pictures before and during the communist regime and contrast them with the original untouched negatives. The first photo manipulations in Albania date back to the early 1860s soon after Pietro Marubi, an Italian immigrant fleeing political repression from his country, opened Albania's first photography studio in Shkodra in 1858. The picture of Pietro’s portrait with a body too small for his head, and stuck to the outside of a cup like a sticker and the faces of Kel Marubi and his sister placed on the bodies of two exotic African fighters, are the first examples of the development of such techniques. Experiments with photo manipulation were also used by the other generations of the photographers, Kel and Gege Marubi. The images of King Zog’s marriage to Queen Geraldine in 1938 taken by Kel Marubi were retouched and later published on the magazines of that time. Manipulation became a standard after the communists took over in 1944, mostly used for propaganda purposes and to disappear traces of the so-called "enemies of the people" from pictures and documents. In 1952, when forced collectivization started as part of the planned economy stripping Albanians of their property and land, the communist authorities also set up state-run photo departments with photographers, lab technicians and also members of the notorious Sigurimi state police supervising the process. Photographers who had their own private studios were forced to hand over their photo collections and work for the government. Marubi’s photo collection could not escape the propaganda machinery and the retouching techniques. The photo album “Traces of national history at Shkoder Phototheque” (1982) opens with one of the most incredible examples of manipulation during the regime. All personalities at the balcony of the Municipality of Shkoder posing at a ceremony on the reburial of patriots Çerçiz Topulli and Mustafa Qulli in 1936, were erased leaving only late dictator Enver Hoxha giving a speech. A 1923 picture taken by Kel Kodheli was also retouched to remove national poet Gjergj Fishta as a disliked figure by the communist authorities in a photo originally featuring Shkodra MPs and Renaissance figures Luigj Gurakuqi, Gjergj Fishta and Ndre Mjeda. Father Dom Nikolle Kacorri, a prominent activist of the Albanian national renaissance movement and a signatory of the country’s declaration of independence in 1912 did not escape manipulation as many other religious figures who were executed, imprisoned and interned after the country’s authorities banned religion in 1967, making Stalinist Albania the world’s first officially atheist country. Kacorri’s name was later removed from the declaration of independence. Curator Ermir Hoxha who has researched into Albanian art under communist from the end of the World War II when the communist took over until the early 1990s democratic movements and collapse of communism, says that for more than four decades retouching became a systematic intervention. “For several years, specialized structures retouched all documentary photographic material from independence until the end of the World War II. The retouching included a systematic intervention on the elimination of disliked figures by the regime, to a degree that only about 13 pictures remained untouched,” he says. In addition to the distant past, the regime's status quo was specifically interested in the near past. The elimination of an important political figure, a common thing in late dictator’s Hoxha's vicious circle, was followed by their elimination from history books and pictures hanging on public buildings. Retouching was also used to recover historical and cultural values such as Marubi photo studio where all material underwent retouching, especially in the characters' faces, to reduce damage caused over time. This kind of retouching was mainly positive in order to preserve the quality of pictures and the unrepeatable documentary values they represented, experts say. Another alternative retouching method included intervention through chemicals on negatives, a process that eventually changed the original picture. “We had problems with party leaders. Their pictures were processed in the lab to look better, or elements that did not honor or should not be on the picture were removed," recalls photographer and graphic designer Petrit Kumi. The processing of pictures went through a series of personal, structural, technical and ideological filters until publication. Self-censorship was the most efficient means of the superstructure. Every photographer had built within oneself a self-imposed complex filtering mechanism that pre-determined what and how to photograph. All pictures initially went through development labs and were later checked by editors. In case of official pictures of communist leadership, the picture also went through another stricter filter based in the Bllok area of the former communist elite or the party's central committee. The selected pictures for the “Manipulation” exhibition are part of the newly restored Marubi national museum of photography in Shkodra, home to home to 500,000 photos and negatives tracing the beginning of Albanian photography in the 19th century by capturing life and historic events in Albania and the region. The exhibition unveiling a clearer picture of the country’s communist past will be open at the newly restored Marubi museum for two months starting August 3 until October 6. A report by the Institute for the Study of Communist Crimes has unveiled the 45-year communist regime that collapsed in the early 1990s imprisoned or interned for politically motivated reasons more than 90,000 people, of whom about 7,000 were killed or died of tortures. Albanian photography started with Pietro Marubi, an Italian immigrant fleeing political repression from his country. He opened Albania’s first photography studio in 1858. Three generations of Marubis followed in his footsteps. For about a century, the Marubi family amassed more than 500,000 negatives. The selection of pictures reveals the political, social, cultural and religious diversity of the country. Several former communist buildings and memorabilia have been put on display for tourists and younger generations in Albania to learn about the country’s communist past. The House of Leaves museum of the notorious Sigurimi police surveillance in downtown Tirana, a Cold War bunker outside the capital city that the former communist elite had built underground decades ago to survive a possible nuclear attack and the Sazan Island military base south of the country all house the mystery and phobia of the country’s communist leaders for about five decades until the early 1990s.       [post_title] => Photo manipulation under communism confessed through Marubi collection [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => photo-manipulation-under-communism-confessed-through-marubi-collection [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-25 10:48:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-25 08:48:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=133373 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 133357 [post_author] => 29 [post_date] => 2017-07-24 13:35:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-24 11:35:27 [post_content] => TIRANA, July 24 - "Daybreak," an Albanian drama about moral compromises, has been selected to make its world premiere at the upcoming Sarajevo Film Festival, one of the leading movie events in South East Europe. The Albanian-Greek co-production directed by Albania's Gentian Koçi is one of the three world premieres selected to showcase in next August's festival. "The Sarajevo Film Festival is one of Europe's most important and the most important one in the south-east region. I think having the world premiere in such a festival, is an achievement not only for me personally, but also for the Albanian cinema's effort to have a stronger voice internationally," says Koçi, a 37-year-old director who is also making his feature film debut. "I feel privileged I will be part of a competition with directors whose works I have followed and appreciated much. I would like to single out renowned Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu, the 2010 Berlinale Golden Bear winner, whose latest ‘Grain’ movie will also make the world premiere. I believe it will be a tough race among seven very good films,” Koçi has told reporters. Starring Ornela Kapedani and Suzana Prifti, the Albanian-Greek co-production follows a single mother and her one-year-old son, who live in dire economic circumstances. They move in with an old, immobile woman whom they have to take care of. In an earlier interview with Cineuropa portal, the movie director and screenwriter described “Daybreak” as an intimate drama that takes place in a flat, in Tirana’s urban setting. “The pivot of the story is the very fragile relationship between the young and the old woman, a relationship swinging between empathy and pragmatic aims. One of the most important challenges for me as a writer and director was to keep a subtle balance between these two opposing aspects of their relationship: affection and pure pragmatic interests,” said Koçi. Commenting on challenges facing young directors in Albania due to lack of sufficient financial support, Koçi says international co-productions are still vital in order for film productions to reach a successful conclusion. The “Daybreak” project, developed with the financial support of the SEE Cinema Network, was also supported by the Albanian National Center of Cinematography (ANCC), the Greek Film Centre, Eurimages, the Albanian Ministry of Culture, the Albanian Public Radio-Television and the Municipality of Tirana. The film is expected to make its Albania premiere next September. The 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival, scheduled to take place from August 11 to 18, will showcase 55 selected feature, short and documentary films from around the world. The festival will pay tribute to Oliver Stone, a three-time Oscar winner. [post_title] => Albanian director’s ‘Daybreak’ picked to make world premiere at Sarajevo Film Festival [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => albanian-directors-daybreak-picked-to-make-world-premiere-at-sarajevo-film-festival [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-24 13:43:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-24 11:43:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=133357 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 133580 [post_author] => 29 [post_date] => 2017-08-21 12:59:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 10:59:48 [post_content] => romanTIRANA, Aug. 21 - A decade after its original publication, Ylljet Aliçka's satirical novel on the international community in Albania is turning more and more international after its recent English version launch and its upcoming movie premiere. The novel by Albanian writer and former diplomat Ylljet Aliçka has recently been published in Norwegian, adding to its international success after the initial French translation and the late 2016 English version published the R&Z Tirana Times publishing house. Translated by Jon Kværne, by the book was brought into Norwegian by Bokvennen, one of Norway's most prestigious publishing houses as “File 12 Tirana - A story with Internationals.” "The novel describes life in one of the international diplomatic offices settled in the post-1990s Albania, to bring the country on track to progress after several generations lost in the dictatorship regime. The thing is about irony that often shifts into bitter sarcasm which the author uses to 'weave' the contrast between the internationals' noble ideals and their everyday routine in the grey offices,” says the Norwegian publisher. "It seems that Ylljet Aliçka has had long experience with the internationals,  no matter how much you laugh and entertain yourself with the diplomatic careers of international workers, one can't be indifferent to the bitter truth when stripped of the cover of this novel's fiction content," adds the publisher. "Arrivism to climb the career steps is the absolute priority of the international staff or somebody who quietly and unnoticed manages to take a seat next to the ambassador in his diplomatic car. We encounter the diplomat who makes important diplomatic decisions, under the excitement of pure feelings of love... Meanwhile, another diplomat prefers picking in full secrecy the ripe fruit of the representation's front garden rather than falling victim to "the crazy local prices." For some others, the crazy office working hours serve to compile strict regulations on the temperature of sheets coming out of photocopier...!” the Bokvennen writes, highlighting some of the novel's comic situations. The novel has also recently been made into a film whose “An Expats' Tale” trailer has already been launched. In an interview with Europa magazine, a publication of the Albanian Institute for International Studies, the former Albanian ambassador to France says the novel’s characters include international officials, who, often anonymous at their home countries, upon arriving to Albania, after “struggling to help this country or tell locals the way to progress,” their life takes a new meaning thanks to the “indigenous” taking care and welcoming them. “This is the reason why many of the internationals cannot leave or grow so desperate when they finally leave Albania,” says Aliçka, 65, a university professor who served as Albania’s ambassador to France from 2007 to 2013. The Tirana Times publishing house says it chose to republish the book for the unusual echo and attention it attracted and because of the topic it treats and its quality that made the writer and diplomat go beyond the borders of small country such as Albania by being published in France, most recently in Norway and already underway of getting published in Italy.   Also read: The Internationals: When ‘elite’ arrogance meets ignorance http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=130456   [post_title] => ‘Internationals’ makes Norwegian debut [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => internationals-makes-norwegian-debut [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-21 12:59:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-21 10:59:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=133580 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [queried_object] => stdClass Object ( [term_id] => 31 [name] => Culture [slug] => culture [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 31 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 2760 [filter] => raw [cat_ID] => 31 [category_count] => 2760 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Culture [category_nicename] => culture [category_parent] => 0 ) [queried_object_id] => 31 [post__not_in] => Array ( ) )

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