Synopsis by Jonathan Crow
Gjergj Xhuvani directs this satire on the absurdities and tragedies of totalitarianism in a remote corner of Albania. Set in the 1970s during the height of the Hoxha's isolationist regime, the film centers on Andre (Artur Gorishti), a young biology teacher who ventures from the capital, Tirana, to teach in an elementary school in the mountainous countryside. His first duty is to select an official slogan for his class. He chooses the shortest option -- "Glory to the Revolutionary Spirit" or "American Imperialism Is a Paper Tiger" -- largely because he and his class are assigned to spell out the slogan in stones on a mountainside. Unfortunately, in this school where the government's ever-shifting party line is the absolute law, Andre's choice in slogans proves to be against the current mood in Tirana, exposing him to accusations of counter-revolutionariness. Attractive French teacher Diana (Luiza Xhuvani) quickly informs him of his error and soon romantic sparks start to fly. But Andre's imprudent choice has raised suspicions in his nervous superiors, who are looking for a scapegoat in case a visit from a high-ranking party member goes poorly. This film, the first Albanian film ever to be screened in the Cannes Film Festival, was also screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.