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.
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