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Lamerica (1995)

Enrico Lo Verso , Michele Placido , Gianni Amelio  |  NR |  DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Enrico Lo Verso, Michele Placido, Piro Milkani, Carmelo Di Mazzarelli, Elida Janushi
  • Directors: Gianni Amelio
  • Writers: Gianni Amelio, Alessandro Sermoneta, Andrea Porporati
  • Producers: Enzo Porcelli, Mario Cecchi Gori, Vittorio Cecchi Gori
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2004
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001Y4LD2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,927 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lamerica" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternative Ending
  • Photo Album
  • Poster Gallery
  • Italian Theatrical Trailers

Editorial Reviews

Upstaging the neorealist masterworks of Rossellini and Bertolucci, Gianni Amelio’s Lamerica triumphs. A visually arresting tale of moral conflict and the journey that leads to atonement, Lamerica has been hailed by critics everywhere as one of the best films of this past decade.

After nearly half a century of communist rule, a poverty stricken Albania falls subject to the invasion of two exploitive capitalists looking to prosper within the changing economy. As Albania’s people try desperately to flee destitution, Gino (Enrico Lo Verso) and Fiore arrive from Italy with plans to use a makeshift manufacturing plant to front their next scam. Forced to name an Albanian citizen as their company’s acting "chairman," Gino and Fiore turn to Spiro–a prisoner of war for over fifty years, Spiro emerges as the perfect pawn. However, when Spiro suddenly disappears, Gino finds himself on a journey that will ultimately reshape the integrity of his soul. Beautifully photographed in Cinemascope, Lamerica has garnered director Gianni Amelio (Stolen Children and Open Doors) with a record third consecutive Felix Award for Best European Film.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Hope and Freedom Amidst Poverty & Swindlers January 2, 2007
After Communism is overthrown in the 1990s Albania falls into a state of destitution and many of her citizens are in a state of despair. The majority are poor and many attempt to flee across the sea to Italy. Television programs reveal a wealthy economy there. The hope for a better life spurs many to risk their own when crossing the borders and challenging the odds of gettiing caught. The black and white film footage in the beginning shows a historical background of how Albania survived World War II by replacing fascism with communism which held great promise for a better life that never materialized. The surreal circumstances of the past haunts this mountainous country as it mirrors the problems which face the population in the 1990s.

The demise of communism holds no better future for the majority of Albanians. One small Albanian restaurant owner harkens back to the communist past when things were better, food was plentiful, there were not shortages. It is under these circumstances that Fiore, an Italian businessman, and Gino his partner arrive in Albania to exploit the people and set up a phony factory allegedly to help the Albanian economy. They meet a few corrupt Albanian officials whom they bribe to expedite the complex paperwork. They also visit a concentration camp to find an unlikely Albanian candidate to become the "chairman" of their business - who will likely become the fall guy when the business fails ...

Gino played by Enrico Lo Verso is a young ambitious Italian business partner to Fiore. Gino takes care of Spiro, the Albanian man selected as chairman. Spiro signs a few legal papers top start things rolling but is needed later for more paperwork when the transactions are finalized.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abject poverty in Albania sets the scene for a fine story November 30, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This award winning 1994 Italian film is sometimes hard to watch. The landscape is Albania in the early 90s, a country that had been first invaded by Mussolini and then kept subjugated by totalitarian rule until the recent breakup of communism. This leaves it open for two Italian racketeers to try to set up a bogus shoe factory. Problem is they need an Albanian to be chairman. And so they find an old man who they can call "chairman" and will sign all the proper papers.
Things get a little out of hand, when the old man, played by Carmelo DiMazzarelli, runs away. The younger racketeer, Enrico Lo Verson, goes out to look for him. What follows is a deeply moving drama set against the backdrop of the abject poverty in Albania. Here, almost everyone is a refugee, attempting to cross the Adriatic in a quest for a better life in Italy, which symbolically becomes "Lamerica", symbol of hope and freedom.
At the beginning of the film the young man is brash and arrogant. He has money and nice clothes and is quite willing to become part of the scheme. The old man has been a prisoner for 50 years and doesn't realize the passing of time, still thinking he is only 20. As the story develops, we find out he is not Albanian at all, but a WW2 deserter who yearns to return to Sicily to his wife and newborn son. The young man's goal, however, is to keep him in Albania.
But things happen. The young man's car gets stolen and he soon learns how little his money means in the countryside of Albania. For example, after walking for miles, they come to a café. The shopkeeper is clear. "Sorry, no water today. Today holiday. Maybe tomorrow." There isn't any food either. Just a television screen where dozens of men sit like zombies watching Italian TV.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving! June 28, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
A very nice movie portraying what life was like in Albania following the fall of communism. This movie is well done and filmed entirely in Albania. The documentary style filming of the movie gives you a real upclose look at the lives of ordianry Albanian citizens struggling to make ends meet at a time of a collapsed economy. Though this film is in Italian language, all of the characters except the two leading characters are Albanian.
The characters for the most part comprise of a non-professional cast to give the viewer a look at the harsh reality of post-communist life. The movie is interesting and fascinating to watch because you get to see a little of what Albania looks like. It is important to remember that Albania was Europe's most backward communist society. For four decades this Balkan country was isolated from the rest of the world. Even now Albania is Europe's and one of the world's least known countries. This film is a treat in that it introduces a litte of what Albania was like and still is, even if it is harsh and haunting. Another highlight of the film is that in many scenes it is possible to hear the Albanian language being spoken. Though the Italian dialogue is all subtitled, the Albanian dialogue is not. But, never the less it is interesting to hear the Albanian dialogue spoken by ordinary Albanian citizens.
This film is moving and touches you at the end when you realize why this film is titled Lamerica. A ship with hundreds of people seeking a better life of opportunity in a land that is not their own. This is something that occurs throughout the globe everyday. Lamerica is a film for everybody to learn from and appreciate for what they have.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and moving film, combining heart and ideas
In some ways this resembles a more sophisticated, complex, political
re-telling of Amelio's great modern neo-realist classic 'Stolen Children'. Read more
Published on September 13, 2010 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars They should open an acting school
This will be brief, seeing how others have gone into great detail. Yeah, there's good photography. Great scenes. Good plotting. But the key here is the acting. Read more
Published on August 17, 2009 by Seidboard World Enterprises
5.0 out of 5 stars Been There
I have always been facinated with the country of Albania. When I was growing up, it was a sort of secret closed society under the tight control of its' Stalinist dictator Hoxha. Read more
Published on October 25, 2007 by Randy Keehn
5.0 out of 5 stars Lamerica
Made at the height of the Albanian refugee crisis, Amelio's absorbing drama is a nightmarish vision of poverty, conflict, and despair in post-Communist Europe's most isolated... Read more
Published on July 13, 2007 by John Farr
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant !!
The tragedys of poverty runs through this film which is set against a compelling background of documentary realism. Read more
Published on May 16, 2007 by a reader
5.0 out of 5 stars great film!
It's been more than ten years, since I last saw this movie, L'AMERICA. I can still remember, quite vividly, just how powerful the imagery was and what a strong impression it left... Read more
Published on May 15, 2007 by D. Pawl
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern neo-realist cinema
Updating the Italian neo-realist mode of cinema, director Gianni Amelio's 1994 film, set in Albania, tells the tale of a young Italian con man and his older colleague--the smarter... Read more
Published on November 20, 2005 by LGwriter
5.0 out of 5 stars A touching and thought provoking film
I really enjoyed this movie. I saw it the first time while in college and walked away feeling very moved. Read more
Published on September 20, 2005 by Enaye Dee
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey into our Common Humanity
"Lamerica" was directed by Gianni Amelio. He has more recent films which are not yet on DVD, such as "The Keys to the House" and "Stolen Children". Read more
Published on February 9, 2005 by R. Steinhardt
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie that shows reality
L'america is a great movie that gives a lot of emotions, especially to the albanian people for the changes that happened during that period. Read more
Published on May 26, 2004 by joti
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