550 Ann.: 1468- 2018
On the 17th of January this year, Albania commemorated 550 Years from the death of its pan national Hero, George Kastriot Scanderbeg.
The epopee of Scanderbeg’s wars in the defense of Principality of Arbanon (Arbër), the Man who became an unfathomable wall against the Osman hordes heading towards Europe, thus transforming the Albanian prince into a mythic knight vigilante unto the Christian European aery, yet finds its traces almost on every country of our parent continent, through the books (600+), canvases, monuments/statues and other artworks dedicated to the hero.
There are good few the prices and titles that the contemporary princes and kings have handled to Kastriot, starting from Sultan Murad II with the title Iskander Bey (equivalent to Alexander the Great, as a reward for his military achievement in Anatolia), following with the title of general commander to the King of Aragon (1451), next with the title “Athleta Christi” from Pope Callixtus II as protector of the Christian European aery, ending with Pope Pius’ II aspirations left on his manuscripts to proclaim Scanderbeg officially as King of Epirus (as unofficially Kastriot considered himself long ago as descendant of Pyrrhus and king of Epirus), etc.
Some well-known statements attributed to his personality, are:
“Holy as Saint Louis, diplomat as Talleyrand, brave as Alexander the Great.” – Fan Stilian Noli, “Scanderbeg” (1921)
“Brilliant diplomat to utilize on his advantage the conflicts between sides.” – Virgil
“The mastermind of the First Ever Euro-Atlantic Alliance.” – Various historians/diplomats.
“At last Europe and Asia are mine! Woe to Christendom! It has lost its sword and its shield.” – Mehmed II “the Conqueror”, upon hearing the news of Skanderbeg’s death.
Amongst the many works dedicated to him we notice the poem by H.W. Longfellow (Tales of a Wayside Inn, The Spanish Jew’s Second Tale- 1873, trans. into Alb. by F.S. Noli in 1916), overture by Francois Francoeur (The Rebel) – “Scanderbeg’s Tragedy”, as well as the opera with 3 acts by A. Vivaldi, various portraits amongst which we distinguish the one by the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt, etc. etc.
Nonetheless, amidst all the books, paintings, torsos and statutes attributed to his personality in Europe, we all are conscious that cinema is the art or instrument (depending on the aim of the producer) to reach the masses effectively on large scale and with time effectiveness. Thereupon, we are pointing out a huge vacuum left alone in obliteration: “The Great Albanian Warrior – Scanderbeg” movie.
1953 was the year when the premier of the movie was screened for the first time on the cinema hall of the former town of Stalin (nowadays Kucova) on the 28th of November, and a year later the movie debuted at the Cannes’ film festival procuring 3 international prices to the director.
With the most outspoken director at the time in the entire USSR, Sergey Yutkevic, screenwriter Mikahil Papava, the remarkable and most well-known actor in the entire Soviet Union, Akaki Khorava (decorated 2 times with the Order of Lenin and 5 times with Stalin’s price) starring as our national hero, Semion Sokolovski, Veriko Adzhaparidze (3 times honored with Stalin’s price) etc. and soundtrack by sound composers Georgi Svidorov and Çesk Zadeja; the movie production was realized by the second greatest film studio in the world at the time and the pride of the socialist camp where our country was aligned too, “MosFilm”, who proved not at all frugal to the budget and selection of the cast of actors in disposal to this movie, coronating thus in pedestal the friendship between our two nations through this epic audio-visual monument.
In 2012, on the 100th anniversary occasion of Albanian modern state foundation, the then government, amongst other activities prepared in honor of our founding fathers, decided also the refinement of the movie to improve visual, music and actor-voices quality.
Today, 550 years after His death, the Albanians yet continue to watch this audio-visual monument produced 64 years before. And this realization thanks to our former allies and friends, the Soviet Union, but today considered as adversaries and hostile due to the shift of our countries’ course and general alignment oriented towards the Euro-Atlantic structures. Nevertheless, I believe that our country shall consign a peculiar thanks to the Russian state for the magnificent realization of the sole movie ever dedicated to our national hero, which for the time being, was a contemporary and high quality film, and this is evident by the many international appraisals received in the countries that was broadcasted, including the western bloc.
“It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy.” ~ Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
Today, 64 years after the production of the film, Albania stands aside with the country that at the time of the movie production, was regarded as the worst enemy of our country, but today considered as our greatest friend, the USA. Yesterday’s archenemy, nowadays fellow, does have in its disposal the greatest cinematographic site in the world, the Hollywood. Herewith, America succeeds into influencing across the globe through ideas, culture and messages that transmits directly or indirectly from the TV screen via the films that produces.
To better understand the influence and the importance of cinematography in shaping the public’s opinion nowadays in the world, by contextual parallelism, in our aid will come the analysis of the “soft power” concept, argued for the first time by the well-known political science professor Joseph Nye. The best holistic epitome to explain his theory would be the case of Hollywood. Through political and cultural values, traditions, products and foreign policy, a country lures and attracts other countries to join voluntarily. The case of Hollywood is the classical illustrative type for the “soft power” concept on the positive advantage for Uncle Sam. Through the multi-million dollar movie production machinery, the US succeeds to export the American values and ideas worldwide, by mythicizing or debunking, by fancying or ingraining in the audience’s memory, by writing or re-writing the history, and by pushing the people’s imagination beyond the rational bounds imposed to one’s mind by reason. All this comes due to the luring and attraction without obtrusion to the foreign audience, by reconciling the thoughts, traditions, viewpoints and by absorbing the American traditions and values.
Now, to return in our theme, standing beside our greatest ally, would be excessive if we ask them to help us in the production of a new movie, modern and monumental as it deserves and befits to our national hero? Until today, there has been an endeavor in 2007, when the film studio “Warner Bros.” declared that would realize a movie for Scanderbeg, this due to the constant efforts by the Albanian community living in the States, although this attempt passed in silence and was vanquished in oblivion. The next venture came in 2010 thanks to the republican ex-congressman with Albanian ancestry, Joe DioGuardi, when he openly unfolded in front of the medias his desire to realize a movie for Scanderbeg, identifying even the world celebrated actor Russel Crowe as his favorite starring the Hero. But even the congressman’s effort was vanquished to silence.
Perhaps this silence and oblivion comes as a result of a capitalist standpoint of the cinematographic companies, from the coldblooded relation costs (production) vs. audience (vending)? Ain’t any other beautiful gift that today’s friends can give, to rivitalize and rise up to the golden paneton the love of our nation towards America by building a new audio-visual monument ofr our epic hero?
7 years were sufficient for our communist leadership immediately after the war (1946) to convince the soviet fellows newly emerged from WWII, to produce a movie for Scanderbeg. How many other years are needed for our contemporary leaders (assuming this has ever crossed in their minds) to convince our american fellows, while 28 years have elapsed since the system’s change?
Thus to follow, let us lend a hand to our state dear friend, because the third attempt must be decisive and prevail over the obliteration in time by the national and international media silence. Let’s persuade the cinematographic companies of Hollywood that Albania is not a tiny market as they might think. Let’s demonstrate that when it comes for patriotism, our nation is openhanded and that the diaspora through the Albanian patriotic associations across the world are ready to contribute in this initiative. Thereupon, I invite the pan Albanian public to sign the online petition created by Patrioti.al, where we address with a plea to the USA Embassy in Tirana, to support our call for the production of a new modern movie for Scandebeg:
“We plead to the US Embassy in Tirana, to support our initiative directed to the cinematographic companies in Hollywood, in asking them to produce a modern movie for our national hero, George Kastriot Scanderberg, on the occasion of the Jubilee Year, 550 years from his death. Recall, that the only movie for him, produced by the Soviet Union (our ex-fellow), dates 64 years before.”
Join our initiative, sign the petition, share it with your family, neighbour, fellows, colleagues, and all the people that you are not acquainted but you know that will join the cause as dignified citizens of this country or benevolents to Albania , invite them over on Change.org: https://bit.ly/2KfqVUO
Our goal: 500K sign./s