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A pointless dispute… Author: Liljana Shanto

Make-Up: Ada Galanxhi

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Layout: Elton Rama

Photography: Ledio Topalli

Translation: Emira Shkurti

Neritan Liçaj (Neri)

Besi

recently returned from emigration, he aspires to apply for an audition that could get him to the Academy of Arts

Director: Gjergji Trola

Era

Besi’s girlfriend, at the final year of her university studies

Besi, happy to see Era coming towards him with a smile.

renowned Albanian actor, professor at the Academy of Arts, he prepares Besi for the Academy audition

Almiri

Besi’s best friend, a Police Academy cadet

Aleksi

Era’s father

Lola

Era’s mother


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03

Wow! Look at you, all shiny and bright!

Yeah! I’m very happy!

No, not this time.

04

They are sitting in a bar. Era talks enthusiastically. Besi listens.

05

Besi frowns. Era keeps talking. Hang on a second there.

Is it because of me?

06

All right, you got admitted to this Masters programme; it’s a reputable university, but…

It is my lifetime chance. What is it?


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08

Yeah, but you will be nine months away from Albania.

You will be all alone there, among all those men, and I’ll be here, a poor Albanian.

Yes, we are going to miss eachother, but…

09

No, it’s not. Many young women have their fun abroad and never come back to Albania, you know how it is?

That’s silly.

10 A woman alone, in a foreign country, nine long months away means nothing to you?

That’s not me

So what?

11 Be honest, are you happy for the school or the fact that you will be socialising with rich and good looking men? It was my hard work and dedication that made this possible. I am going there to study and not to look after other men.


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13 Yeah’ right, and you had to go for that university?! Like you are going to be a minister!

Besi grabs her arm and speaks harshly. Listen to me! A woman that goes around the world is not the one for me. It’s either your Master’s abroad, or me!

What’s with this tone?

Is this your final word? Damn right!

Era is about to leave. 14 Besi stands up and raises a threatening hand.

15 Era can’t believe her eyes.

Does this make you feel a real man?

Why, ain’t I?

16 Era leaves in tears. Besi gives her an angry look.

He lowers his hand and does not hit her but his tone is still enraged. 17

Era crying on her bed.


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19 His best friend, Almir, passes by on his bike. Besi is lost in his thoughts.

Besi walking annoyed.

Hey, man, did you lose your marbles? I’ve been blowing my horn three times. Huh?

20

Did you lose millions in Wall Street today?

Yeah, yeah, go ahead… laugh…

21 Both sitting in a bar. Almir makes jokes and is talkative. Besi’s mind is somewhere else. What could I tell him? That I’m still on my last course of Academy and I know those laws better than him?

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Hey, mate, are you here?

Never mind… Huh?


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Oh, drop it! I know you better than the wheels of my bike. Go on, shoot! What’s bothering you?

No way, you? You were the one that used to hold me from getting into fights around the hood, how come you were about to hit a woman?

But she really got in my nerve!

I had an argument with Era. I almost hit her.

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Thank God you didn’t hit her! Why, any time someone gets in your nerve, you have the right to hit them? Is this the way to solve a dispute? Era is your girlfriend, not your property, got it?

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Besi, don’t you know that there are now laws in place against violence? It is my duty as police member to stop those offenders. I ‘d never want to see you on the other side of the law.

27

In front of Era’s house. She exits the building.

Era!

Besi buries his face in his hand and does not answer.

Era looks at him and wants to leave.


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What’s with you? What am I, your garden fence?

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But I didn’t hit you! Come on, let’s talk.

Yesterday you almost hit me and now you want to see me?

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What do you want to talk about? To have things your way? Me staying at home… doing the chores and forget about my education?

Why? Do you wanna have it your way? Giving a damn to no one?

Besi, I do want to sit down and talk as two equals. I also want you to trust me and not accuse me of stuff.

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So you prefer your Master’s over me, huh? I see you’ve already made your choice. Go to hell, than, you and your trust!

32 Besi, talking on the phone.

Hello, Almir, is that you? Are you still at the gym? I am waiting for you. Is this your day off or should you be at the Academy? Yeah?... Right...Cheers.

Era walks away.


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Almir sitting with Besi. I don’t think so, buddy.

Is that so, my rooster? Do you prefer to crow solo, perhaps, rather than a duet?

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Don’t think so?! She hasn’t set a coop yet and already starts clucking. I can’t stand her!

Wasn’t it Era’s dream too, to go on with her schooling? She applied, competed and won.

Ok, listen. It is your dream to become an actor, right? You lost three years in emigration. The first year you did not do well in the audition. Now you’re working hard with Neri to prepare for this year’s audition. What if Era told you: “Quit your schooling, ‘cause I don’t want you to be an actor”?

I would never quit!

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C’mon, Bes, of all those students competing, from all over the world she got quite a scholarship and you sit here whining: “It’s far away… it’s nine months.”

So, you think I’m whining. All right, all right but it’s far away. In nine months anything may happen.

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Sure thing!

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Besi’s phone rings and Almir reads the number. It’s Professor Neri

Wow! I’m speechless. She used to be the most compliant and obedient and you were the toughest guy around. Now both of you have changed. Perhaps three years away in emigration have been holding me back.

It’s for our rehearsal but I don’t feel like it.


39

At Era’s. The door opens and her mother comes in, holding a large bag. Aleks and Era happily welcome her.

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We missed you!

You’re finally here… Yes, I’m really tired.

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Aleks gets her bag.

You did? Yes, very much!

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Era prepares some coffee and admires their parents love while he serves her coffee.

Mom, I want to ask you a question, but please, be honest.

Sure, honey.

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As an engineer you had to work around the country in hydro-power plants. Has daddy ever been an obstacle to your job? What a question! I tell you, Era. At first it was difficult. Your mother had to go even when you were a little girl and I had my hands full, but I learned to take care of my responsibilities.


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I have been honest with you from the very start. This was my job.

45 Era tells her parents what happened. They listen attentively. Even 40 years ago.

Yes, and I accepted it.

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Did he hit you? He hit me with his words, dad. To me this is graver.

You are right, they say a word hits harder than a stone. There are many of them out there who start with verbal abuse, than they raise their hand and even kill their wife. On the other hand, honey, don’t you expect that there will be no disputes with Besi.

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Respect is the most important ingredient in a relationship. If respect is missing, it’s over. It’s better if you forget about it.

Era, we could only hold this family together and overcome any difficulty because we partnered as two equals.

One’s wife, girlfriend, and partner is a friend, an ally, not a subordinate or a property. This is what any boy and men must understand.


49

Besi and Almir at a bar, still discussing Besi’s problem.

Sorry, bro’, you had it comin’.

She’s not even answering my calls.

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50

Neritan joins their table. You looked like you were debating.

What’s up, guys?

Professor…

Welcome, Professor!

Issues of hearts.

Nothing important…


52

At a school gym Neri and Besi rehearsing.

53

So you need to work hard and feel every word. Start again!

No, no, no. You chose to play Shakespeare. Now try to give your best. You know this is difficult even for the most experienced actors.

Virtue itself ‘scapes not calumnious strokes… The canker galls the infants of the spring... Too oft before their buttons be disclosed…

I know, I love Shakespeare and…

54 No, no, there is no feeling. You sound empty.

55

Listen, if an actor’s mind is somewhere else, it may turn into a block. It’s useless; apparently something is troubling you today. Let’s drop it.

Let me start again then… Virtue itself ‘scapes not calumnious strokes… No, can’t do it. I’m sorry.


56

Neri and Besi talking in the street. Besi tells him everything.

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Yes, to all the three.

And that was all, Professor. I don’t know what to do.

Then I would suggest, you sit down to talk with her calmly, with sensitivity and most of all with respect.

Three questions: Do you know Era well? Do you trust her and more importantly, do you love her?

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59 I see, but she‌

Remember, you hurt her with your words and even were about to hit her. You have to apologise. Besi, to be an actor, one has to be human. An artist does not just appear on stage to play, but has a mission: to contribute to the progress of society.

To be able to impersonate people, an artist should consider humans, their life, freedom and integrity as central to our world. It starts with the respect we reserve to our friends, girlfriend, wife, parent and child. Violence and abuse of love do not belong with an artist.


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Neri at the bar with the two friends. That’s what I told him too, Professor.

At Era’s place. Era and her mother in the same room. Era’s phone rings and she does not pick up. Is it Besi?

Good for you, Almir. So, Besi, we do not support this kind of behaviour because we are your friends and want the best for you. Yes 62 You two need to talk, Era. If the guy really loves you, I’m sure he must have thought things through by now. Give him the chance to speak up his mind. I believe in change. I believe in reconciliation, as well.

Era still seems hesitant. 63 She answers the phone at first in a cold and distant tone…

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…then she lightens up. Lola watches her.


65 Era quickly grabs her bag and runs away.

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67 They timidly hold hands as if it was their first date.

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I missed you...

You did? I thought your…

Besi is waiting for Era. She comes towards him.

Nonsense, Era. I was carried on. I did not think right what I said.

You said it to hurt me, Besi. Don’t do it again.

You are right. I’m sorry. You’re too dear to hurt or loose.


69 I suffered very much these days and you know the worst part? Nobody supported me.

See? Abuse hurts you too!

Men and boys, part of the solution ! Show you are against violence! outprint Association of Young Artists of the Stage Address: Thanas Ziko Str., Pall. 6, Shk. 3, Ap. 41, Tirana, Albania e-mail: sharsalbania@gmail. com

Mobile: +355 68 20 61 105

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