Serb-Albanian film bemoans sour "Honeymoon" in West

Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:45am EST
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By Benet Koleka

TIRANA (Reuters Life!) - They may be divided by geography and politics, but Serbs and Albanians share the same sour fate on screen when they go abroad in a first film collaboration between filmmakers of the two nations.

"Honeymoon," made by acclaimed Serbian film director Goran Paskaljevic alongside the Albanian writing and producing team of Genc Permeti and Ilir Butka, follows the journeys of two young couples -- one from each country -- whose dreams of seeking success in Europe end in parallel lines of disillusion.

The 61-year-old Paskaljevic said the idea for the film came to him after he began visiting Albania two years ago. It was then he realized that Serbs and Albanians were very similar, despite the divisive nationalism fueled by politicians.

"We are Balkaners, we share a similar mentality but we do not know each other. I sincerely believe that if we knew each other we would understand each other better," Paskaljevic said.

Albania and Serbia are at odds over the future of Kosovo, a former province of Serbia with a 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority that declared its independence in February.

Belgrade considers Kosovo to be the cradle of its history and fiercely opposes independence. The 100,000 or so Serbs still living in Kosovo oppose the secession with the backing of Moscow and Belgrade. In 1999, Serbian troops accused of carrying out a campaign of killing, torture and destruction against ethnic Albanians were expelled from Kosovo by a NATO air war.

"My strong feeling is that we have to collaborate. In culture it is maybe easier to open the door, as in the case of 'Honeymoon'. It is a symbolic title that goes very well with the story of the film also," Paskaljevic told Reuters this week.

Scriptwriter Permeti said he was drawn to Paskaljevic's work after he saw the 2004 movie "Midwinter's Night Dream" and was impressed by "his courage to speak with political metaphors."   Continued...