Oscars: Albania Selects 'Chromium' for Foreign-Language Category

Chromium - H
Courtesy Bujar Alimani

Bujar Alimani's sensitive coming-of-age drama is about a boy's search for independence in a dysfunctional family.

Albania has submitted Bujar Alimani's coming-of-age drama Chromium for consideration in the foreign-language Oscar category.

A sensitive story about a 15-year-old boy's search for independence as he strives to pull away from his mute and lonely mother, it is the director's second time as the national Oscar entry. In 2011, Alimani's last feature, Amnesty, a story about about conjugal visits in a prison, was submitted in the foreign-language category but failed to make the final shortlist.

In Chromium, Fredjon Ruci plays Adi, a quiet boy living in a small house on the edge of town with his younger brother and deaf-mute mother. Hoping to find some independence and earn extra money, the teenager goes to work illegally in a chromium mine, not realizing that the decision will have consequences for his entire family.

Told largely through long, carefully composed shots where body language and the character's internal experiences are more important than dialogue, the boy's rebellious nature is mirrored in that of a young female teacher (Mirela Naska), who is the only person to trust him.

The film, which had its world premiere in Karlovy Vary's East of the West section in 2015, is a co-production between Albania, Germany, Greece and Kosovo. Producers are 90 Production Gegnia Film and Tefta Bejko, Valon Jakupaj, Anita Elsani, Thanos Anastopoulos and Stella Theodorakis.

Albania has submitted films in the foreign-language category to the Academy Awards nine times since 1996, but has never made the final shortlist.