International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, a film in Albania open doors to dialogue on disrupting patriarchy

Date: Friday, March 13, 2020

Employees at a fish factory in Elbasan, center Albania, participate at a movie screening for International Women’s Day. "Open Door" Albanian movie was screened followed by a discussion around patriarchal norms and inequalities in society.  Photo: UN Women Albania
Employees at a fish factory in Elbasan, center Albania, participate at a movie screening for International Women’s Day. "Open Door" Albanian movie was screened followed by a discussion around patriarchal norms and inequalities in society.  Photo: UN Women Albania

To mark International Women’s Day, UN Women in Albania organized local screenings of the Albanian movie “Open Door,” which showcases the impact of patriarchal social norms and traditions on the lives of women and girls. Hundreds of people participated in the screenings and in follow-up discussions with the movie cast in the towns of Prrenjas, Elbasan and Puke a week prior to Women’s Day.

Directed by Florenc Papas, the movie, which premiered last year, is about two sisters living in a deeply patriarchal society. They cannot visit their father because the younger of the two returns from abroad pregnant and unmarried. In order to be able to see their strict and traditional father, they try to find a man to play the part of the younger sister's husband.

Michele Ribotta, UN Women Representative speaking at the opening of the movie screening in a fish factory, in Elbasan, central Albania for International Women’s Day. Photo: UN Women Albania
Michele Ribotta, UN Women Representative in Albania speaking at the opening of the movie screening in a fish factory, in Elbasan for International Women’s Day. Photo: UN Women Albania

“Deeply entrenched patriarchal values keep hindering the full realization of women rights, including in Albania,” said Michele Robotta, UN Women Representative in Albania at the screening organized in a fish factory in Elbasan, central Albania. “Generation Equality calls for a whole-of-society movement to eliminate hard-to-die gender stereotypes that still prevent too many women and girls from pursuing their dreams and choosing for their own lives. To achieve full equality in our time, we must ‘Open Doors’ to dialogue and solidarity within and across generations,” Mr. Ribotta highlighted.

The screenings were free of charge and were organized in partnership with the filmmakers. Famous Albanian actress Luli Bitri, who plays the older sister in the movie, also participated at the discussions. “For every woman, it is never too late to decide what she wants to do with her life, because life is very short. The most important thing is to be happy. And they have to choose happiness themselves,” said the actress addressing the women and girls employed at the fish factory where the screening took place.

Discussions after the screening aimed to break down and reflect on the gender issues addressed in the film. Participants said that the movie was depicting the reality of the Albanian society and that more initiatives like this should reach different parts of the country to raise awareness.

“The film was shown to a mainly female audience who are today still facing gender discrimination. We hope that the screenings and the discussions that followed have had an impact on the invisible struggle that every woman is facing today in Albania and beyond looking for her identity and her place in the society and in the family,” highlighted Eno Milkani, producer of the movie.

The screenings were supported by the Government of Sweden, as part of the UN joint programme on ending violence against women in Albania.