Oscars: Albania Nominates 'Bota' for Foreign-Language Category

Albania Oscar entry 'Bota' - H 2015
Courtesy of ERAFilm

The debut by an Albanian director and her U.S. husband weaves past and present in a powerful story of love and attraction.

A lyrically poetic debut, Bota, about a troubled romance set in a remote wasteland once used for locking away opponents of the Communist regime, is Albanian's nomination for best foreign-language film in the Academy Awards.

Written by Iris Elezi and directed by Elezi and her U.S.-born husband, Thomas Logoreci, Bota — which means "world" in Albanian — is a tightly focused story set in an isolated cafe that cannot hide from the world.

The story of Beni (Artur Gorishti), a petty criminal and ladies' man, and his beautiful young mistress, cafe waitress Nora (Fioralba Kryemadhi), is set in litter-strewn parched surroundings that serve as a bleak background for a richly creative tale woven with enduring images.

The film, which had its world premiere last year in Karlovy Vary's East of the West competition, where it won a FEDEORA critics prize, screened in competition earlier this year at the San Francisco IFF.

Other awards include a special jury prize at SEEFest, the South East European Film Festival in Los Angeles, and an audience award and FIPRESCI prize at the Reykjavik film festival. Last weekend, it won best feature at Pogradec's Balkan film festival in Albania.

A co-production between Albania, Italy and Kosovo, the film is produced by Partner Media Investment and Erafilm Production, with support from Italian cultural funds, Eurimages, the Albanian National Film Center and the Kosovo Cinematography Center.