Date Thesis Awarded
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Due to Albania’s almost complete isolation from the rest of the world during the development of its film industry in the Cold War, Albanian cinema is understudied compared to other European national cinemas, but the country’s geopolitical importance has meant that nations hoping to secure their interests in Albania heavily invest in film coproductions. As a result of this foreign influence, these Albanian films may reflect the gaze of the foreign coproducers more than the self-perception of Albanians. Filmmakers from these nations use the Albanian setting and identity to discuss issues of identity in their own countries because of the country’s importance to their nations’ colonial interests. This paper critically examines this colonial influence in two films produced with Albanian cooperation: The Great Albanian Warrior Skanderbeg (USSR/Albania, 1953), a blatantly colonizing film that reinterprets medieval Albanian history as an idealized model for Soviet history and society, and Lamerica (Italy, 1994), which uses the recent collapse of communism to complicate Italian assumptions about their own identity's stability. In both films, whether the officially coproduced Skanderbeg or the Italian production Lamerica, Albania is being used as a setting to say what the producers want to say about both it and their own country, without any input from the Albanians themselves.
Burrows, Michael, "The Lives of Others: The Colonial Gaze in Albanian Film Coproductions" (2016). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 964.
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