In the early 1990's, Italian director Gianni Amelio had already been hailed by international critics and audiences as a singular voice tackling relevant social dramas in the neo-realist tradition of the 1940's. Amelio travelled to Albania in 1994 to direct 'L'America', the story of a corrupt Italian businessman who discovers personal salvation in the immediate years after the fall of communism.
Upon it's release, the film further cemented Amelio's reputation garnering over a dozen awards including four prizes at the Venice Film Fesival and the coveted
Felix Award for Best European Film.
But in Albania 'L'America' caused considerable controversy and was denounced by many as a gross exaggeration of conditions in the country. After the film received wide distribution around the world, many Albanians came to regard L'America as furthering the kind of negative stereotype that 'Midnight Express' gave Turkey.
Gianni Amelio will return to Albania to appear at this years Tirana International Film Festival for a special screening of 'L'America'. Afterwards, critics and audiences will be invited to discuss with the director the films lasting impact and its place in Albania's recent history.
The TIFF is also honored to screen two of Gianni Amelio's most acclaimed films, his 1990 'Porte Aparte' (Open Doors) and the 2004 'Chiavi di Casa' (Keys to the House