By Luljeta Nelallari
The atmosphere and dramas of the Albanian society during the communist dictatorship are narrated through another angle, that of love…
The love story between the Albanian student and the daughter of the Italian ambassador to Albania and how painful a love affair with foreigners was during the dictatorship lies at the center of the film “The Unfinished Portrait” directed by Namik Ajazi, which premiered at the Millennium Cinema on March 18.
The Italian-Albanian film with such a story also comes as a kind of homage to those painful events, romances left in half, idylls cut in half by the regime, which did not “forgive”.
It all started in 1980 with the arrival of the Italian ambassador in Tirana, who is played by the famous Italian actor, Remo Girone. His daughter Beatrice Aiello, who is in the role of the protagonist, will soon enter the vortex of the Albanian reality of those years.
She will prove a strong love for the painter Artur Erzeni, a role that comes played by the actor Antonio Kodrinaj, who has to live with the pressure of the State Security throughout his love story.
“In Albania it is not like in Italy, there are rules here”, are the words of the ambassador for his daughter.
On the other side are Arthur’s parents, the late Guljelm Radoja and Rajmonda Bulku, who suffer the anxiety of what could have happened from their son’s love story.
Beating more with that time and being aware of the fear one should have of possible eavesdropping or possible espionage, they would occasionally warn the son of the consequences that this love might have.
Along with the story of the two young people, the film also tries to bring the atmosphere of those difficult years for Albanians. To build this story, director Ajazi worked for almost three years and did research in the former Archive of the Ministry of Interior.
He says it is based on true stories, one of which is closer to that of the film. But Ajazi specifies that we can not talk about real characters, as he has received pieces from some of them.
“This story is similar to one of the 7 painful stories of impossible loves of Albanian boys with foreign girls. With this film we have stayed closer to one of the stories. Of course the real character I have a friend, has been a journalist for quite some time after the ’90s. This story is close to his story, but we also made a pact that we said that this will not be your story, this will be the story of those who had an impossible love “, says the director Namik Ajazi.
“We were a family that understood, we understood very well this love of our son, who was not to blame for falling in love with this young girl, even though she was not Albanian. “Meanwhile, we knew, more than the boy himself, what could happen”, says Rajmonda Bulku, who carries the role of the painter’s mother.
About the selection of these topics from the communist past, Ajazi says for Gazetasi.al that it comes as an obligation to a generation that experienced difficult times, but also to show the younger generation what those years were like.
“We must always turn our heads away from the past. We need to know a few things that the younger generation in that momentum of development that has today, does not have much time to deal with the past, but there are some milestones that need to know well, and I think we have obligations as artists to we bring some peaks of some realities for the new generation to know today, because if we, who were very young boys at the time, were to leave, and we did not confess these things, I do not know who ‘i remains. So it will be a gap. “The whole world, the cinema, the televisions have shown important parts of their history and this love story is one of them”, says the director Ajazi for Gazetasi.al.
In the end the love story will be cruelly interrupted. The wild face of that time makes the story of the two lovers end badly, as the Albanian state will take and arrest the boy and then they meet after years of democracy, where even in this period their love remains on the borders of impossible…
“The unfinished portrait of Clara Bellini”, was evaluated in September 2021 as “The best feature film” at the Karlsruhe Film Festival in Germany, and will now continue its journey in Albanian and Kosovo cinemas.