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 Albanias 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 companys acting "chairman," Gino and Fiore turn to Spiroa 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the movie itself is great but this vhs tape is poor in quality, grainy, fuzzy and marred by frequent superscripts attributing the copy
to "new yorker videos".
In some ways this resembles a more sophisticated, complex, political
re-telling of Amelio's great modern neo-realist classic 'Stolen Children'. Read more
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 morePublished on August 17, 2009 by Mykel Board
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 morePublished on October 25, 2007 by Randy Keehn
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 morePublished on July 13, 2007 by John Farr
The tragedys of poverty runs through this film which is set against a compelling background of documentary realism. Read morePublished on May 16, 2007 by a reader
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 morePublished on May 15, 2007 by D. Pawl
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 morePublished on November 19, 2005 by LGwriter
I really enjoyed this movie. I saw it the first time while in college and walked away feeling very moved. Read morePublished on September 20, 2005 by Enaye Dee