The Delegation: a film review

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 17, 2019 18:58

The Delegation: a film review

Story Highlights

  • “A European delegation has arrived in Tirana to closely study how are the democratic reforms undertaken by the government are working out. These reforms are main conditions set to Albania to join CSBE, which today is known as OSCE. The head of the delegation, Mr. Loherin, had been a classmate and close friend to an intellectual professor turned political prisoner, while they were students in Prague.”

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By Sonja Methoxha

During 2018, the National Center for Cinematography (NCC) approved the funding of 36 Albanian film projects, out of which 16 managed to be directed and actually debut.

Two of those films even participated in international film festivals – Streha Mes Reve (A shelter among the clouds) at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia, and Delegacioni (The Delegation) at Warsaw International Film Festival in Poland, where it won the Grand Prix.

Hearing the news of this triumph gave me a warm feeling of pride, but more than that, it awakened a curiosity about watching the film.

I can’t say I had high expectations; nevertheless, its poster had given me the idea it was an action movie packed with guns, escapes and Hollywood-style interactions.

The film is written by Artan Minarolli and dedicated to him, and directed by Bujar Alimani. Part of the cast are Viktor Zhusti, Ndricim Xhepa, Xhevdet Ferri, Kasem Hoxha, etc.. The production comes as a collaboration between Albania, Kosovo, Greece and France, and discusses the events in Albania after the communist regime fell in the 1990s, the democracy it embraced and the remaining political struggles.

A European delegation has arrived in Tirana to closely study how are the democratic reforms undertaken by the government are working out. These reforms are main conditions set to Albania to join CSBE, which today is known as OSCE. The head of the delegation, Mr. Loherin, had been a classmate and close friend to an intellectual professor turned political prisoner, while they were students in Prague.

Now, the government sends “a delegation” to the prison to fetch the professor and meet Mr. Loherin, so Albania can be granted the admission at CSBE. The professor is not to be aware of this; however he does find out, and things don’t end so well.

This Albanian delegation never arrives in Tirana because their car breaks down. By the events that follow throughout the movie, it can be understood that this film is not about action, but rather about the fluctuating sentiments and thoughts still prevalent in Albanians, about democracy, our country itself and its future, the government and people.

“I was in prison,’’ tells the professor to the responsible employee for his safety, referring to the physical prison. “But you are in prison and you don’t know it,’’ he also remarks to the employee, referring to his mentality and being.

The film itself I think is about mentality. You have the representation of intellectuals, who have either rebelled and didn’t comply to the government as its tools, or that learn to keep their mouths shut and go on with their work. You have the blind followers, inspired by a sense of security and nationalism, and on the other hand the youth that embraces change, that won’t do so forcefully, but rather with a smile. You also can see a representation of the people who are adaptable to all situations offered, but nevertheless, take only what is offered, and I think there is the question a question raised regarding the reasons, which I think it’s left unanswered or up to the audience. And on top of all, there is the government, which theatricalizes situations and conspires so it will keep itself to power, and exploit opportunities from everywhere.

An unforeseen experience which immerses you into its events and people. A film that focuses on 1990s, but discusses of untimely subjects, especially regarding our country.

Regarding the film situation in Albania director Saimir Kumbaro has said in an interview with Report TV that after the ‘90s the Albanian film has faced a decline and is in agony. He blames the little funds the NCC grants and the licensing of amateur film studios. He said that the NCC has wrongly focused on quantity over quality in film production, which has led to limited scenery and unqualified actors or staff.

The NCC calls 2018 a success. Two Albanian films participated in international film festivals, 12 films were premiered during the year in our country and more are to come. It is worth mentioning that the Tirana International Film Festival took place in the capital by the end of the year, with a high demand on inquiries after the news that the winner of the Best Short Live Action/Animation will be ranked in the Oscar nominations of the category.

Even if the rest of the 15 films that the NCC produced on 2018 are of less deserved quality, it was worth stressing that the film Delegacioni was a truly critically acclaimed film, not only due its awarding of Warsaw Grand Prix, but more for its plot and subject, directorial work, and acting.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 17, 2019 18:58