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Breaking the myths: Albania of Hollywood vs The real Albania [Jun 2024]

A few examples to show the truth about the real Albania

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Hollywood has surely spoken about Albania, even when few people outside the Balkan region knew where this country was in the map of the world and when the internet was not a reality yet. But the way Albania was presented to the Hollywood audience, meaning the whole world, was not the right one. Even though the internet has already transformed the way of thinking with so much real time information, there are still many people who think about Albania as that dangerous country full of criminals the movies talked about.

Here we are to break some of those myths Hollywood has created. We chose a few examples to show the truth about the real Albania and to prove you that the movie creators are wrong, or in the best case totally uninformed.

1.”TAKEN”

Taken, Liam Neeson, Ismail Kadare

This movie is probably the most popular one when it comes to portraying Albanians as criminals. A retired CIA agent (Liam Neeson) travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped by an Albanian criminal organisation in Paris. One of the Albanians in the movie is called “Marco from Tropoja” and he is supposed to be the worst one. That was enough to put a hardly forgotten mark over Albanian men. The reality is that even though after the fall of communism, because of the extreme poverty, many people went abroad to work and live a better life, and some of them chose a shortcut to make money for their families, they don’t represent the whole country. Albania has been and still is a country that raises excellent students, great artists and writers who have also contributed abroad with their work. One of them is the writer Ismail Kadare, candidate of the prize Nobel, whose literary work is translated in more than 45 other languages throughout the world. He is well known in Paris too, even more than this Hollywood movie.

2. “INSIDE MAN”

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“Inside Man” (2006) starring Denzel Washington, Willem Dafoe and many other famous actors puts the heroes in a situation where they have to deal with Albanian bank robbers. Besides that, one of the main scenes is about an Albanian woman who helps the agents to understand an audio in Albanian. Even though she actually helps them, the director has chosen to portray her as a prostitute, dressed up in a very provoking way, with heavy make up, smoking in a police van and having so many parking tickets to pay. That’s a bit too much even for a sex worker. The truth is that there are millions of Albanians in USA for 2 or 3 generations already and most of them, men or women are successful people, with solid families, managing businesses, studying in the best universities and serving the American country with honour. Our girls are not even close to that ugly image in this movie. The example I want to bring is of the Zalli twins, Detina and Argita Zalli, that¬†from Harvard to Oxford, reached the top in science. Recently the sisters have been dedicated to the discovery of the cure of cancer. We are really proud of them and we know that there are so many other great Albanian women who are contributing for the whole world.

3. “WAR DOGS”

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There have also been many polemics about the “War Dogs” (2016) movie starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller. In a journey to Albania to buy weapons, they enter in an old storehouse with a huge amount of guns, bullets and everything alike. This scene could be somehow true to the communist Albania, but never ever to 2016 Albania. That very old car used in the scene is hard to find even if you look for it. The streets of Albania are full of the latest modern cars, most of them Mercedes, Wolsvagen, Toyota, but even Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls Royce. Mainly because Albanians love a nice car and secondly because a car it’s not just a vehicle but also a status.

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Mother Teresa

I guess I don’t even need to mention the great woman Mother Teresa, who inspired the world with her kindness and love for God. There are so many other Hollywood examples that show the same stereotype but we will always have more examples to show Hollywood and the world that the real Albania is completely different. Our country is a welcoming one, with friendly people, rich in culture and history and proud of its people!