A Lucid Apologue

in 49th Taormina Film Fest

by Gregorio Napoli

From Albania the extraordinary Edmond Budina has sent us his Lettere al Vento (Letters in the Wind), of which he is also the protagonist, in the role of Niko Gjini, a teacher who is obliged to make a living by selling bananas in a country reduced to destitution.

The price of that fruits is imposed by the local mafia. Niko, however, pride-fully reacts to it by refusing a suitcase full of money that an old friend, who has now turned into a gangster, has offered him. The film now becomes a lucid apologue: Niko sets out on a journey to Italy in search of his son Keli who has emigrated to that country but has lost his life to save a woman on the hellish course of one of the pirate ships carrying stowaways.

While describing the transition from a communist regime to a democratic but still weak system of government, the director has ideally filled the expanse of sea between the two shores of the Adriatic with moving pathos and sympathy. These feelings he expresses through a simple never hard style, that becomes more elevated when he describes the innocence of his daughter Adele, in the role of a local girl kidnapped by the gangsters and then released owing to a slanderous suspicion of connivance.

For all these reasons Edmond Budina, at his first feature film, has written, in my opinion, one of the most effective and elevated pages in the 49th Film Festival of Taormina.