ALIVE!
A film by Artan Minarolli
AL/AT/FR 2009, 90 min

 

A carefree Albanian student gets drawn into an ancient gjakmarrja, or blood feud, when he returns to his village of birth for a funeral in Artan Minarolli's ironically titled "Alive!" As in scribe-helmer's "The Moonless Night," the shadow of the past and the burden of emigration hang heavy over the proceedings, though Minarolli again struggles to synthesize his ambitious themes, offering general outlines where telling details should be. Only a faint pulse on Euro webs seems likely. When Koli (Nik Xhelilaj, photogenic but one-note) is summoned back to the mountains, he discovers he is wanted dead by a rival clan in retaliation for a long-ago vendetta. He goes into hiding at the home of his mustachioed uncle (Xhevdet Ferri) and kind cousin (Besart Kallaku) before making a run for it. Though reportedly reflecting an actual post-commie trend, Minarolli's take on revived honor killings lacks texture and context, and the last scenes bafflingly focus on another Albanian tragedy altogether. Nighttime scenes are particularly grainy, though the rest of the pic is as handsome as its stubbled protag. Clarinet-infused score offers forlorn comfort. For the record, the onscreen title was "AL!VE."  

 

Awards and nominations:
Nominee of Albania for the Oscar - Best Foreign Language Film
"Special Jury Prize" - Durres Film Festival 2009
"Special Jury Prize" - Tirana International Film Festival
Prix du soutien technique GTC, Montpellier
Don Quichotte Award P Federation Internationale des Cine-Clubs FICC, Cottbus FF

 

Festivals:
Karlovy Vary IFF, Durres FF, Pusan IFF, Antalya IFF, Bergen IFF, Montpellier IFF, Balkan Snapshots, Connecting Cottbus IFF, Chennai IFF, Pune IFF, Palm Springs IFF, Film d’Amour de Mons IFF, Belgrade IFF, CINEMA MUNDI Brno IFF, Cleveland IFF, Tiburon IFF, International Festival of Mediterranean Film Tetouan, Minneapolis/St.Paul IFF, Festival of European Coproductions Sofia, Moscow IFF, Lato Filmow Warsaw IFF, Scottsdale IFF

 

Cast:
Nik Xhelilaj
Xhevdet Ferri
Bruno Shllaku
Niada Saliasi
Bessart Kallaku
Eni Cani

 

Crew:
Director and Script: Artan Minarolli
Camera: Jacques Bouquin
Editing: Oliver Neumann
Costumes: Emira Turkeshi
Music: Baptiste Bouquin
Production: ART FILM, WILDart Film, AGAT FILMS ET CIE
Producers: Marie Balducchi, Dritan Huqi, Vincent Lucassen, Artan Minarolli, Ebba Sinzinger


supported by:
Albanian Film Centre, Austrian Film Institute, ORF, Fonds Sud Cinema Ministere de la Culture et de la Communication CNC, Ministre des Affaires Etrangere et Europeennes France, Albanian RTV, B2B Belgrade Industry Meetings, Hubert Bals Fund, Global Film Initiative, See Cinema Network, visions sud est, Moulin d'Ande, Cecl, EAVE, Cinelink

 

Distribution:
Thimfilm (Austria), trigon-film (Germany)