Eliza Dushku's Love Letter to Albania

On Saturday night, November 24, 2012, I had the privilege of attending a special screening of actress Eliza Dushku's documentary, Dear Albania, a cinematic love letter to the country of her grandparents.  She visited the Mediterranean country with her brother Nate and with renowned Albanian photographer Fadil Berisha, tracing her roots and embracing her heritage.  The highest praise I could give the film is that as an Albanian-American myself, it inspired me to want to visit the nation of my own ancestors.

The screening took place at Manhattan's opulent Russian Tea Room, which is owned by Albanians. The documentary features cameo appearances by some well known Albanians who have made their mark in the arts and in other achievements.  Its message is not to boast that "we are the best," but rather to boldly declare that "we exist" and showcase the beauty of the land, the richness of the culture, the importance of its history, and the nobility of its people.

The cinematography is amazing, highlighting the majestic mountains and pristine beaches. Eliza travels through 15 cities to tell the story of Albania through her eyes as she discovers a soccer player who shares her name, tracks down a lost relative, and receives dual citizenship from the president of Albania himself. Along the way we see Albanian villagers, singers, theater performers, and sites such as the Albanian Riviera and the ancient ruins of Apollonia, a vestige of Albania's historic days as Illyria.

Here is a trailer that offers you a glimpse of what to expect in the documentary:

Hunt it down when it's released, either on television, movie theaters, or DVD.  It will definitely motivate you to visit this incredible country.

Views: 172

Comment by Harp on November 26, 2012 at 9:17am

I've liked Eliza Dushku since way back in the days of "Buffy."   This was good. 

Comment by Nick Leshi on November 26, 2012 at 9:28am

Thanks, Harp.  She's really nice in person.

Comment by fred hallman on November 26, 2012 at 10:12am

Nick, if you ever caught her in "The Doll House!" you'd know she can also wail!  Don't know how to pitch a song to her do ya?

 

Comment by Nick Leshi on November 26, 2012 at 12:51pm

Fred, I confess I only saw the first few episodes of Doll House before giving up on the show.  She has a huge Twitter following -- maybe you can pitch her that way?

Comment by Stim on November 26, 2012 at 12:56pm

I'm for any country that's formed under a King Zog.

Comment by John Fleshman on November 26, 2012 at 2:14pm

Nick, I don’t know if this is ok to do and normally wouldn’t post a business recommendation on a site but… I look forward to visiting Albania in the future. What a beautiful country. I worked with an Albanian-American in Iraq in 2011 and in conversation asked where she was from and about her country. She got me in contact with a tour guide whose pictures are breath taking. “Guida Albania” and the owner’s name is Ilir Nanaj. His link on his facebook page is:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Guida-Albania/221970407841744

If this is not ok to post. I apologize in advance.

Comment by Nick Leshi on November 26, 2012 at 2:58pm
Thanks, John, I always welcome recommendations.
Comment by Nick Leshi on November 26, 2012 at 2:59pm
Stim, that made be think of Terence Stamp in Superman II -- "Kneel before Zod!"

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