Excerpt taken from "Guardian Unlimited"

Monday November 27, 2006

Eduart, directed by Angeliki Antoniou, and given its world premiere in Thessaloniki, is based on the true story of a young Albanian man (played by Eshref Durmishi) serving a sentence for murder in an Athens prison. The film follows his flight from Greece back to Albania after strangling a man who tried to have sex with him, his imprisonment for theft, his life in prison (during which he is raped) and his escape during the 1997 riots. During the journey, both literal and metaphorical, Eduart, with the help of a German doctor, learns to feel sympathy for others and guilt for his crime. This extremely powerful and moving film is not in any way as worthy or sentimental as it sounds; nor, like its Dostoevskian hero, does it take the easy path to final redemption. It also manages to avoid most of the cliches of the brutal prison genre: instead of the documentary realism that is usual with such subjects, it is beautifully shot and framed with a discreet use of music. The film owes a tremendous amount to the central performance by Durmishi, an Albanian actor whose handsome, tortured features dominate almost every scene. Both he and the film could go on to achieve international success. Like most European films today Eduart is a co-production, no doubt the consequence of many discussions and hard bargaining of the sort that goes on at many festivals. At Thessaloniki, there was Crossroads, a co-production forum that brought together producers, distributors, agents and other film specialists. The festival, now in its 47th year, has also initiated exciting projects such as the Balkan film fund, which offers development grants to the region`s film-makers, one happy result of which was the Bosnian Grbavica, winner of the Golden Bear at this year`s Berlin film festival.