Film Scouts Reviews


by Kathleen Carroll

Buy this video from

Music from
Buy The Soundtrack.

Originally brought to heel by Mussolini's Fascist troops in 1939 only to be further crushed by a Communist dictatorship Albania has remained totally cut off from the free world. That is until recently. For director Gianni Amelio uses Albania as the setting for a fictionalized drama about two scheming Italian capitalists who come to the country solely to take advantage of the government subsidies that are available to foreign investors. One of them, Gino (Enrico Loverso), is in for a rude awakening as he and a bewildered ex-political prisoner are caught up in the traffic flow of Albanian refugees, heading for the freighters that they hope will take them to the land of their dreams - Italy.

LAMERICA is also a jolting experience for the viewer. Having finally exposed Albania and its people to the camera Amelio reveals a hell on earth, an utterly lawless and desolate country. The film provides haunting visual evidence of the devastation and poverty caused by 50 years of Communist rule. Children run wild and the street urchins display a frightening degree of hostility as they steal from the weak and hound strangers for money. The only apparent relief for the masses are the frivolous game shows on Italian TV which they stare at in mute fascination.

What makes the scenes even more disturbing and depressing is the fact that this is Albania as it actually appeared to Amelio in 1993, the year he shot the film. And the numerous extras, such as the pretty young girl who dances, copying Michael Jackson's every move, are obviously not mere players. They are actual Albanians whose real-life suffering is permanently stamped on their sad, prematurely aged faces. LAMERICA captures with chilling fidelity the present day chaos of the post Communist era.

Back to 1995 New York Film Festival Reviews

Back to Lamerica

Back to the Press Room

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.