Albanian Cinema Project (ACP), Colorlab Corporation, and New York University presented the first digital restoration and English language subtitled adaptation of renowned Albanian filmmaker Viktor Gjika’s 1982 feature, The Second November (Nëntori i dytë). The film tells the story of events leading up to Albania’s independence from Ottoman rule on November 28, 1912. Last year celebrated the 100th anniversary of that independence.
Directed by Gjika (shown at left) and written by Kiço Blushi, The Second November was made in 1982 and premiered that November, yet has never screened outside of Albania. On November 3, 2012, the restored version opened the "13th Festival of Albanian Film in the 100th Independence Year” at the Millennium Cinema in Tirana, Albania, to much acclaim.
Regina M. Longo, director of the Albanian Cinema Project, explained pre-screening that the movie was full of history, drama and -- yes -- some melodrama. She was right. Even as full of cliche as is the film, when that cliche is dished out of an exotic location, it can be quite charming. The acting was capable, and the screenplay interesting from an historical angle, chock full of exposition as it was.
Smyrna in this same week (about which I'll have more to say next week), which details the horrifying end of one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities just two decades after the birth of Albania, I must say that the documentary makes a good case against nationalism, and for cosmopolitanism.