Bekim Fehmiu and (Yugoslav) Albanian Identity

  • Bruce Williams


DOUBLE EAGLE, DOUBLE INDEMNITY: BEKIM FEHMIU AND (YUGOSLAV) ALBANIAN IDENTITY "ONCE upon a time there was a country, and its capital was Belgrade." These opening words of Kusturica's Underground (1995) allow us to reflect on the apparent unity forged by Tito in Yugoslavia and the notion, however fleeting, of Yugoslav cinema. As Dina Iordanova asserts, this statement at once foregrounds Kusturica's claim that Yugoslav union had been "an artificial political construction built on lies and mutual betrayal" (Iordanova 2002, 83), and evokes an undeniable nostalgia for the defunct state. In wake of the bombardment of Dubrovnik, the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, and unrest in Macedonia, we recall with certain fondness an era in which Yugoslavia provided a peaceful and accessible portal between East and West. The ambivalence of Kusturica's stance recalls Edward Said's reconsideration of the relationship of divergent communities to the ever-fluctuating nation-state, an argument which has...