SPEAK SOFTLY - Official selection at TFF40

The documentary “Speak softly” by Esmeralda Calabria, will be presented at the 40th Turin Film Festival in the official selection in the Italian Documentaries section out of competition. The official screening will be held on Sunday 27 November at 5 pm at Cinema Greenwich 3, where reruns are scheduled for Monday 28 at 7 pm and Tuesday 29 at 5 pm.

“Speak in a low voice” takes a look of yesterday and today on Albania, the most impenetrable of the former communist countries in Europe. Isolationist, Stalinist and anti-revisionist. The weight of a memory that, more than 30 years after the fall of the regime, coexists with all the characters encountered in the film. Musicians, actors, directors, privileged and downgraded, tell the contradictions of a system that has the face of the dictator Enver Hoxha, who like a Great Father gave and took away. A cumbersome past that accentuates the fragility and ambiguities of the young democracy. Everything that may seem like a parody today was not at the time and Redi Hasa, a cellist musician, begins a journey that starts from memories, from the fear of forgetting and from the desire to stop time. Redi was born in Tirana where he studied cello; in 1997 he left Albania, following the civil war that broke out during the new democratic course, and joined his brother in Puglia. Here he began his artistic career, and his music, a bridge between the sounds of the Balkans and those of Puglia, established itself in a short time in Italy and was also appreciated internationally.

The protagonists of the documentary film are: Redi Hasa (musician and composer), his brother Ekland Hasa (pianist and concert performer at the Tirana Opera House), the parents of Redi and Ekland Meteli Hasa and Afërdita Hasko Hasa (artists), Bojken Lako (rock singer and musician, author and director of radio and television programs), Edmond Budina (director, actor, playwright, screenwriter and writer), Rita Gjeka (actress), Gjetë Gjoni and his family, Xhavit Lohja, Arjan Çela and his family, Coro Jehona (Ensemble of popular songs and dances) and Bandadriatica (Salento band of which Redi Hasa has been a member since its foundation in 2000). The original music of the documentary is by Redi Hasa himself, while Mirko Pincelli collaborated in the direction and Giorgia Pirillo is the executive production producer for Akifilm.

“Albania evokes boats, desperation, poverty, escape and fear, but the journey of the people we spoke to – says Esmeralda Calabria – does not belong to this landscape. They move in a different perspective, they look for new words to tell themselves and make sense of their story; they aspire to get out of an interpretative cage, they claim the right to look tenderly on their youth, in a low voice they tell of lives lived in fear, but they also want to save something.

Because there is always something to save, a song, education, communism as an ideal. “Speak in a low voice” is the fragmentary attempt to tell that feeling that does not accept, as the only way out, to forget, remove the past, hide the shame and accept a future without conditions”.

Redi Hasa accompanies the viewer on this journey through those people who tell their story from a present perspective, but with their gaze and memory entangled in their past. All that is lost is a near and distant echo of Albania’s recent history.

“Speak low” is produced by Titti Santini and Esmeralda Calabria with the contribution of MIC – General Directorate of Cinema and Audiovisual -, the European Union and the Apulia Film Fund of the Apulia Film Commission and the Puglia Region using resources from the POR Puglia FESR- ESF 2014/2020. Shot in Puglia for 15 days between 2020 and 2021, the shooting was carried out in Salento (Lecce, Ostuni, Corigliano d’Otranto, Lequile, Otranto and Arnesano) and 8 Apulian work units were involved.

SPEAK SOFTLY – Official selection at TFF40