Anatema (Agim Sopi, 2006)
I wanted to like this movie so, so, so much more than I did. An Albanian director goes in for a hard-hitting look at the Serbia-Kosovo conflict through the eyes of a woman trying to reunite with a child she left at an orphanage soon after birth… how can you go wrong? Well, a myriad of ways, really, and Agim Sopi managed to hit pretty much every one of them in this confused mess of a movie.
Plot: Ema Barisha (Lumnie Sopi in her screen debut) is an investigative journalist covering the Serb-Kosovo conflict, getting herself into places she wouldn’t normally be able to by being the local liaison for a pair of American journalists/human rights workers (I could never quite tell which), David (Jacob’s Ladder‘s Doug Barron) and Laura (The War Is Over‘s Blerta Syla) Schwartz. Ema’s contact with the two armies is symbolized by the two men in her life—the happy-go-lucky Shpati (Warriors‘ Blerim Gjoci), an old school friend, and the vile, gluttonous Colonel Lilich (Black Flowers‘ Enver Petrovci), a Serb. (You can see where the subtlety of the political angle is really well-played here, I take it.) Ema, raped by a Serb solider, has a child out of wedlock and is of course shunned; with no means of getting the money needed to feed and clothe her baby during the upcoming winter, she takes the child to an orphanage. Fast-forward a bit, and David (Laura has dropped off the face of the earth, which shows you the thoughtfulness to be found in the scriptwriting) returns with Ema’s payment for working with them; suddenly flush, she returns to the orphanage to get her child…and stumbles upon a white-slavery ring which she, David, and Shpati, now an army bigwig, must expose and destroy in order to save Ema’s daughter.
The first half of the movie is bad, but it’s amateur-filmmaking bad; you might be willing to overlook the horrible acting and sometimes curious camera placement. But once the political gloves come off and the whole white-slavery-ring gig comes into play, it goes from bad to flat-out ridiculous, a piece of amateur propaganda that can’t even manage to be successful at portraying bad guys you don’t want to laugh at. Don’t bother with this one. *
Nope. No trailer.