Review: ‘Albania-Italy 1994-2002, A Comparison’

There are many important things to say about relations between Italy and Albania, but "Albania-Italy 1994-2002, a Comparison" misses most of them. Italian director Giuseppe M. Gaudino's imaginative editing becomes repetitive as he lacks enough filmed material to work with. The film cries for more recent first-hand impressions.

There are many important things to say about relations between Italy and Albania, but “Albania-Italy 1994-2002, a Comparison” misses most of them. Italian director Giuseppe M. Gaudino’s imaginative, slightly dreamy editing becomes numbingly repetitive as he lacks enough filmed material to work with. His crew visited Albania only once, during the country’s traumatic transition from communism to capitalism in 1994; the film cries for more recent first-hand impressions. Instead, it intercuts interviews with young immigrants living in a refugee camp in southern Italy. This apples and oranges approach makes for a dry and disconnected film.

Gaudino, who offered a rich personal view of his native Naples in his feature “Moonspins Between Land and Sea” (1997), shows compassion for the ordeals of the Albanian people. The boys at a refugee center in Lecce (faces obscured) patiently await their 18th birthdays, when they may or may not be sent home. The Albanian footage underlines the country’s poverty and desolation — coal mines once used as labor camps, a stray dog eating the entrails out of a dead donkey lying on the roadside. With images like this, Epsilon Indi’s tragic music is rather redundant.

Albania-Italy 1994-2002, A Comparison

Italy

Production

A Gaundri production. (International sales: Far Sun Film Ltd., Hong Kong.) Produced by Isabella Sandri. Directed, written, edited by Giuseppe M. Gaudino.

Crew

Camera (color, DVcam/miniDV/Super8), Isabella Sandri; music, Epsilon Indi; sound, Sandri. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (New Territories), Aug. 31, 2003. Running time: 109 MIN.
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