|Directed by||Gianni Amelio|
|Produced by||Mario Cecchi Gori|
|Written by||Gianni Amelio,
|Starring||Enrico Lo Verso
Carmelo Di Mazzarelli
|Music by||Franco Piersanti|
|Editing by||Simona Paggi|
|Distributed by||New Yorker Films|
|Release dates||October 4, 1995 (USA)|
|Running time||116 minutes|
They need a stooge and choose Spiro Tozaj/Michele Tallarico (Carmelo Di Mazzarelli), an old man in a prison, who turns out to be an Italian veteran from World War II. Easily confused and utterly impoverished, this elderly former political prisoner seems the perfect choice, until he unexpectedly disappears.
Gino is assigned to find him, setting out on a journey that leads him to discover Spiro's tragic personal history and become intimately acquainted with the full extent of Albanian poverty. Gino's car tires are stolen, while the fancy shoes he gave Spiro are also stolen by children.
Gino and Spiro follow a group of Albanians who are headed for Italy in search for a better life, first by truck and later by ship. The Albanian exodus parallels that of Italians for the United States, which is where Spiro believes that they are heading.
- 1994 European Film Awards – "Best Film"
- 1994 Venice Film Festival – 4 Awards including "Best Director"
- 1995 São Paulo International Film Festival – "Critics Award"
- 1995 David di Donatello: Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Sound
- 1995 Nastro d'Argento: Best Director, Best Cinematography
- 1996 Goya Awards – Best European Film
Critical and scholarly reception
In the film, Spiro Toiza rediscovers his Italian identity of Michele and at the end of the film believes the boat is headed to New York, while on the other hand Gino loses all materialistic indications that he's Italian and comes to look like another Albanian in a boat full of them. These two plot threads "challenge Italy's colonial past and in so doing force the redefinition of the notion of identity. Who is Italian? And what does it mean to be Italian?"
TV Guide gives the film four stars, finding it "A boldly chilling portrait of post-Communist Europe in moral eclipse, directed with passion and singular grace by Italian Gianni Amelio (STOLEN CHILDREN)." Janet Maslin, writing for The New York Times, finds that "The film's synthesis of fact and fiction is gracefully achieved," and expressed hope that after the screening of Lamerica at the 1995 New York Film Festival, Amelio would "emerge ... much more widely known."
- Edoardo Pittalis, Roberto Pugliese, Bella di Notte, August 1996.
- Luca Caminati, "The return of history: Gianni Amelio's Lamerica, memory, and national identity" Italica 83.3-4 (Fall - Winter 2006): 596
- Staff, "Lamerica: Review" TV Guide Accessed Jan. 14, 2008
- Janet Maslin, "Film Festival Review; Scheming Italians In Troubled Albania" The New York Times October 4, 1995
Urga (Close to Eden)
|European Film Award for Best European Film
Land and Freedom