In Albania, a film follows communism’s star-crossed lovers | AFP

Inside the stone walls of a 12th century castle, Albanian and Russian actors are trying to make some movie magic as they reenact a little-known chapter of their shared history for the big screen. The historical drama is the first joint production between the two countries in more than 50 years and was co-written by Russian screenwriter Yuri Arabov and none other than Albania’s most acclaimed novelist, Ismail Kadare. Tentatively named “Gjirokastra” after the southern Albanian city it is based in, the love story is the first feature film to delve into the tragic fate of mixed couples who were persecuted by the communist regime. The trouble started after Tirana severed ties with Moscow in 1961, a diplomatic break-up that turned young Albanians with Soviet-born wives into suspected traitors overnight.

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