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Cinema of Albania

The Cinema of Albania had its start in the years 1911-1912. The first public showings began in the cities of Shkodėr and Korēė and they were of foreign films. The first Albanian films were mostly documentaries, the first film being about the Manastir Congress that sanctioned the Albanian alphabet in 1908. After World War II, the communist regime founded the Albanian Film Institute in 1945, which became Kinostudia Shqipėria e Re in 1952. This was followed by the first Albanian epic film Skėnderbeu (movie) , a cooperation with Soviet artists chronicling the life and fight of Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg. The film won an award from the Cannes Film Festival. Two other known films from the time are Fėmijėt e saj (Her sons) and Tana (movie) .

In the 1960s, one movie a year was produced, concentrating mostly on the subject of the World War II occupation of Albanian by Italian and German armies and the fight for liberation. The movies had strong positive connotation towards the communist partizans and bad connotations toward the forces of Balli Kombėtar and they served in many ways as propaganda of the regime. Some of the directors of the time were Dhimitėr Anagnosti , Viktor Gjika , Gėzim Erebara , Pirro Milkani .

In the 1970s, there was a drastic reduction in the number of imported movies as a result of cultural and political isolationist campaign by the regime. This resulted in an increase of production in movies to five or six a year early on and up to 8 or 10 a year by the end of the decade, peaking at 14 movies a year in the 1980s. The genre of movies was also diversified to include dramatic as well as family and children movies. Two the movies of the time were Beni ecėn vetė directed by Xhanfize Keko in 1975 and the comedy Kapedani directed by Fehmi Hoshafi and Muharrem Fejzo in 1972. A new cadre of directors of the time was composed by Rikard Ljarja , Sajmir Kumbaro , Ibrahim Muēaj , Kristaq Mitro , Esat Mysliu . This period signified also the start of artistic and made-for-tv movies such Udha e shkronjave directed by V. Prifti in 1978.

Some of the movies of the 1980s were Ballė pėr ballė directed by Kujtim Ēashku e Pirro Milkani in 1979, Dora e ngrohtė directed by Kujtim Ēashku in 1983, Agimet e stinės sė madhe directed by Albert Minga in 1981, Kohė e largėt directed by Spartak Pecani in 1983, and Tela pėr violinė directed by Bujar Kapexhiu in 1987.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were also 20-40 documentaries produced that dealt in cultural elements as well as propaganda. This period also saw the birth of animated films with Zana dhe Miri by V. Droboniku and T. Vaso in 1975; animated films numbered around 16 a year.

These cinematic works were the result of a great cooperative effort by the Kinostudia, various directors, writers, composers, actors as well as influences by the regime that formed an entire industry. By 1990, about 200 movies had been produced. By the end of the 1980s, Albania had over 450 theaters. However, most of the equipment was aging and disintegrating.

During the 1990s, the change of the communist regime to a more democratic one led to a big change in the Albanian cinema. The big conglomerate Kinostudia of old was broken up into several smaller studios, the movies started to be produced in private studios, by the old directors and even some foreign ones, but in conjuction with the new National Center of Cinematography (Qendra Kombėtare e Kinematografisė).

Although new movies are being produced, many Albanians have returned to watching and enjoying the old movies, now shown on the various private television stations. The old propagandistic elements are now more a source of comedy than hate, and the early style is much appreciated.

Some of the most acclaimed recent movies include Kolonel Bunker , Slloganet , Dasma e Sakos , Tirana Year Zero, and Porta Eva .

In the late 1990s, many new cinema theaters were built, especially in the bigger cities (such MILLENEUM in the capital Tirana) that mostly show western and more prominently American movies.


This article is based on the work of Abdurrahim Myftiu [1].

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Last updated: 12-22-2004 06:01:42