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Outrage over proposed Albanian ban on communist film

Outrage over proposed Albanian ban on communist film
Still from The Happy Couple (Çifti i lumtur), 1975, dir. Piro Milkani, starring Tinka Kurti

16 March 2017

Could communist-era film soon be banned in Albania? A proposal to this effect from the state-funded Institute for Communist Crimes (ICC) has sparked public outrage and debate on decommunisation.

If the proposal were to become law, the vast majority of films produced during the communist era would be banned from public broadcast.

“The initiative [...] aims to contribute to the decommunisation of society. The movies during that time served as a massive brainwashing tool [...]. Today we are at risk, since the showing of these movies keeps alive and activates nostalgia for the dictatorship [...],” Agron Tufa, an author and the director of the ICC, told Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, adding that a small number of communist-era films would not be included in the ban but could only be shown if preceded by an announcement detailing the reasons for showing them.

While the ICC can only propose legislation, and has no official powers to push the proposal forward on its course to become a law, the suggestion has triggered a significant backlash from the public.

“Albanian movies are history, although some don’t want to accept it. It is one thing to hate communism and another is to know the realities of that time,” Kolec Traboini, a former screenwriter at the Kinostudio state-run film studio, wrote on Facebook.

Other criticisms of the ICC’s initiative included respect for those who worked on the communist-era films, good acting and memorable quotes.

“If somebody asked me, at what time would you want to be an actress, I would definitely say at the time of [Communist-era actresses] Marie Logoreci, Tinka Kurti, Margarita Xhepa… a time when art had spirit, sacrifices, emotions and love,” actress Monika Lubonja posted on Facebook.

1992 saw the end of 47 years of communist rule in Albania. A number of post-Soviet states and members of the former Eastern Bloc have undergone, or are undergoing, a process of decommunisation, which in some cases involves a ban on communist symbols. Among the most discussed in recent years is that of Ukraine, which began a formal decommunisation process in April 2015, while this week a bill was submitted to the Hungarian parliament proposing a ban on using “totalitarian symbols” for commercial purposes.

Read up on Albania’s rich communist-era film heritage here.

Source: Balkan Insight