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Amnesty: A brief encounter
© Giorgos Panagiotakis
First Publication: altcine 25/11/2011
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In David Lynn`s Brief Encounter, Laura and Dr. Alec renew their platonic relationship each Thursday at an English railway station cafe. The rest of the week they live peacefully, close to the people they are married to.

 The basic heroes of Bujar Alimani`s film have much more problems. Elsa has just been fired, and tries to survive in a poor provincial town in Albania. She lives in a small apartment, together with her two children and her father in law. Her lover lives in Tirana struggling with depression, loneliness and his broken washing machine. The two of them meet on the fifth day of each month.
Their meetings don’t take place at the romantic scenery of a railway station, like Laura`s and Dr. Alec`s, but at the dirty hall of a prison in Tirana, where Elsa’s husband and her lover`s wife are imprisoned. They go there thanks to a new law passed by parliament so that Albania can join the EU: Now, every prisoner can make love with his or her spouse, in jail once a month.
These "legal" sexual encounters are cold and without any emotion. However, when Elsa ultimately makes love with her lover, the passion overflows. But at the same time the anger of the father in law, who discovers the truth, overflows too.

Alimani films this conflict between the old and the new Albania, using a remarkable narrative and aesthetic economy. All unnecessary elements are eliminated. All the cinematic tools (the shots, the lighting, the editing, the sound) have a sense of austerity. Even the leading actors, Luli Bitri and Karafil Shena, act with the eyes rather than the speech.

The naif accuracy of "Amnesty" brings in mind, some other films of similar style, which have been produced in Balkans -the films of contemporary Romanian cinema, for example. It seems that a single cinematic style begins to appear in the Balkan Peninsula -with the "help" of financial difficulties. A "cinema of the poor", that uses the necessary in order to target the substantial.
  Bujar Alimani
  Karafil Shena
  Luli Bitri
  Alimani`s Amnesty
  Corrected list of submissions of Balkan films to the 84th Academy Awards
  altcine Explore movies by Country People To read
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