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Slogans (2001)

7.4
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Andre starts as a teacher in a remote mountain village in Albania. His first task is to choose one of two communist slogans. He picks the shorter one, which is appreciated by his class, ... See full summary »

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Title: Slogans (2001)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Marko Bitraku ...
Gjin
Mirjana Dedi ...
Mira
...
Andre
Birçe Hasko ...
Sabaf
Niko Kanxheri ...
Selman
Fadil Kujovska ...
Pashk
Rita Ladi ...
Lumja
Robert Ndrenika ...
Llesh
Agim Qirjaqi ...
Directeur de l'ecole
Luiza Xhuvani ...
Diana
Festim Çela ...
Festim
Edit

Storyline

Andre starts as a teacher in a remote mountain village in Albania. His first task is to choose one of two communist slogans. He picks the shorter one, which is appreciated by his class, because they have to build the slogan on the hillside using whitewashed rocks. However, this means that the longer slogan goes to Diana, the French teacher to whom Andre is attracted. Andre gets on the wrong side of the communist party boss of the village, when he stands up for an unjustly accused goat herdsman, whom he had befriended. The boss is determined to take his revenge on Andre. Written by Will Gilbert

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Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

31 October 2001 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hasla  »

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User Reviews

 
An interesting, if slightly flat, look at communism
15 April 2004 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Before I start this comment, I might take a minute to state that I know very little about the country of Albania, nor about the communist politics that go on in that state. Living in a big city in a capitalist country, interpreting this film is somewhat difficult and can be called into question, at least as far as I'm concerned. So bear that in mind as I write.

The film "Slogans" is set in a remote Albanian village, in a communist state. It is viewed primarily through the eyes of Andre, a young teacher recently arrived in the town and hence under constant scrutiny from the citizens. The plot revolves largely around him and his fellow teachers as they lead their students in building huge slogans for the communist party in rocks on the side of a hill. If this plot intrigues you in a slightly whimsical kind of way, you'll know what my motivation was to watch it in the first place.

On the surface, the plot seems to be nothing more than a tale of alienation and politics revolving around the somewhat tedious occupation of building these slogans from rocks and painting the rocks to make them stand out. But deeper down there are more inner workings.

The way I see it, the film is simply a satirical piece on the failure and hollowness of communism as a governing rule. The slogans are symbolic of this; the whole job is done for the purposes of this supposedly wonderfully fulfilling pursuit, but in the end, all they are is just words. The fact that so much of the plot revolves around these words seems to suggest that, in a similar way, the communist system itself revolves around words and little more. The brave and inspirational words are supposed to incite the masses to enthusiasm, and yet, as the film illustrates, the words are so fragile that a simple flow of rain or the trotting of goats can unsettle them and they lose all meaning.

It's interesting to note the other ways in which the writers have stressed the importance of words (ie. propaganda) in the workings of the Party. It is done mainly through the use of single, isolated aspects of the story. Firstly, the fact that there is only one character who retains notoriety for being a detractor, an enemy, of the communist Party, and that character happens to be illiterate; in other words, he can't read the slogans and therefore can't rally around them like the masses do. Secondly, the fact that, despite relying largely on school and teaching for its story, there is only essentially one scene actually set in a classroom, and it too involves nothing but reciting communist propaganda, and when the boy in question makes an honest mistake, his words are misinterpreted and an entire investigation is set up as a result.

The pathos present in these, among other aspects of this film, is what gives it its comedy and hence its satire. That said, while the examination of communism is very interesting, the film itself fails a little to really engage me. The comedy is there, but it isn't funny. The drama is there, but it isn't moving. I just don't think the right atmosphere was created to actually captivate me; there is very little music used to set the mood, and the acting isn't quite good enough to compensate. Similarly, the subplot of the romance between Andre and Diana doesn't quite work for me; there just appears to be no development of this relationship and so when it is consummated there is very little chemistry between the two. It just comes off as incomplete.

The only real drama is the subtle message of the sadness and worthlessness of this life; Andre is used as contrast, the voice of wisdom as it were, between this essentially brainwashed community and the outside, more civilised world. But in the end, the schoolkids, like the adults, are simply forced to completely immerse themselves in a lifestyle that serves only the purposes of the party (with free will eliminated from the equation), and in more ways than one the film illustrates the fact that this is an endless cycle. And to an external viewer, that's quite sad to see.

In summary, the film, and script in particular, are very cleverly worked to examine the life and politics of this isolated village. It is in the execution of the story where it fails to impress, but as far as I can see, that matters very little since I love a film with intricate underlying themes. As a political foray, it's close to perfect. As a film, it isn't. In very simple terms, four stars out of five.


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Where is this movie available, other than eBay? flawless51
List of slogans, please? Moskit
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