Something troubling is happening in the film world in Albania. Some weeks ago, the country’s Institute for Communist Crimes proposed that films from the country’s communist era (1946-1991) should be banned from television. They argued that screening movies made during these 45 years would encourage nostalgia for the old Enver Hoxha regime which was, of course, an oppressive dictatorship in many ways. Its labor camps and prisons were places of terror. Many were murdered because of their political dissent or non-conformism. But banning the estimated 200 films made by the Albanian Film Institute from 1945 and then the Kinostudio from 1952 would be a counter-productive way to deal with the wounds of the past.
Filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter weighs in on shifting terrains in the industry. The so-called “crisis” in Europe and North America is a euphemism, peddled by those who have lost nothing in the past few years, to soften the unacceptable shock of the new social-economic order. Among other victims, the culture of the artisanal gesture—authentic, free, and as old as our civilization—has been damaged as never before. Miraculously, in the world of wine, there is a group uniting rich and poor, Left and Right (though mostly Left and middle class) that has resisted with astonishing success. For years, I’ve wondered if my filmmaking colleagues would follow their lead. So I feel deeply relieved and excited to see that a growing number of my fellow filmmakers, consciously and unconsciously, are starting to follow the winemakers’ resistance to a cynical, corrupt, and wholly outdated system of production, distribution, and marketing with their own refusal of cinema’s systems of regulation and self-censorship.