A coffee with Reshat Arbana: Art is not made by dancing like a pelivan

2023-08-23 10:24:46Dhoma e rrëfimit SHKRUAR NGA ENTELA RESULI
Reshat Arbana

His voice is like a living cultural monument. Even when he says the simplest thing, he forces you to listen.

Reshat Arbana, today 83 years old, has had two heart surgeries, but this has not scared her.

"The heart has the ability to give you a second chance in life, it did this with me. "I was torn twice in the chest, but I feel better these days."

In the mornings, he drinks coffee behind the Ministry of Education, where he is found together with his friends.

At first contact he seems rude, but a few minutes of conversation are enough to understand that you are facing not only an icon of Albanian art, but also a man with a white and pure heart.

" By nature, I look heavy, but I'm not. I have hung out with all categories of people and I like it that way. I was a worker myself and I love the worker. I will never forget a worker, my friend, who put the slogan on his lathe: Sweat never becomes water, my mother".

Reshat is a proud gentleman drawn into his own revolt. It shows how injustices, lies, fraud, so common in today's Albania, cause tension.

"I get very angry. But imagine how many things go wrong in this country. Often the woman tells me; Why did you take Reshat, you will fix this world. Yes, I am incorrigible, but she has found my wires. It's calm, dear... But I also know how to apologize when I realize I'm wrong. I have the courage to do this too."

Besides his extraordinary roles as an actor, we ask him about the recitation of Ali Asllani's poem "Hakrrim", a hit on the Internet.

The inspiration to screen something like this came precisely from his anger with reality.

"It was sometime after 2005. I was very emotionally burdened by everything that surrounds us. I am talking here about politicians. I would like to tell them some things in their eyes, but where do they get caught, they drive constantly. I thought I was doing a poetry review. "Hakrrim" is one of them. To this day, people stop me and congratulate me. Apparently they find themselves. Those verses seem so current. Maybe they will always remain like this".

There he begins and recites a verse: "Trafficking in the office, tricking in the bazaar, tricking foreigners, tricking Albanians." Only, only fraud, and to the detriment of this country that raised you, that raised you, that fed you, that fed you!"

Although low in tone, the sound of the familiar voice made people turn their heads from a few tables away. They started congratulating him right away.

Are you satisfied with life? - I ask him suddenly and remind him, perhaps tactlessly, of the pension of 30,000 lek per month that an actor of his generation receives in Albania.

"Am. I am very satisfied. Not for the 300,000 lek pension I receive. For the love people give me. They stop me, ask me to have a coffee with them, to have a conversation. This gives me great pleasure. There comes an age when you need people. I do not miss this attention. For that I am happy. I'm happy when I think I've left something behind."

For him, art and culture have had many shortcomings in all these years. He almost feels pain for the situation he is in.

"Culture itself hurts me. The way it is presented. Show. Mediocrity hurts. Ugly vocabulary and not at all dignified communication scares me. I am surprised how the audience there applauds, or how they laugh. Like Reshat I ask myself: What is happening?! Art is not made by grimacing and saying dirty words. Art is not made by dancing like a pelivan. Art is never done like this"

The actor, who holds the title "Honour of the Nation", adds, however, that recently he feels that something is changing for the better.

He suddenly remembers the theater of the past years, that theater of golden times.

"I remember that full yard. Full of great actors. High personalities. The great personalities gathered there, from Kadri Roshi, Prokop Mima, Marie Logoreci, Violeta Manushi, Drita Pelingu, Gjon Karma, Ndrek Luca. I long to see them once again, to feel again the seriousness with which they worked. Let them get together and put "Arturo Ui" on stage once again. They can't do it. I am not pessimistic, but it cannot be done like Agolli's "Luiza Miller". They are powerful dramas. Need work. We need passion, passion and only passion".

To get his career back on track, we look to Arbana for roles that have more heart and maybe a pawn in that regard.

"If you insist, I'm telling you that the roles that are closest to my heart are those of Isa Boletini in "Nëntori i Dëtë", the role of Sami in the film "Fije che priten", "Gjeneral Gramafoni", but there are also many other roles in theatre, film and television series.

However, my hostage remains the role of Dardan Kosova, which was never realized. It was a very serious project and very close to completion, but it failed and I have never understood the reasons why it was not finalized.

It is about a film about the war in Kosovo and the role of Dardan Kosova (Adem Jashari) was entrusted to me, but it was not realized and I have no explanation why this happened. This role will remain a hostage for my whole life" - says Arbana, shaking her head and adding further that time has passed and that role will remain a hostage forever.

Before closing the conversation, let's go back to health and the heart. Maybe he smells where we are going out and without a concrete question he starts talking...

"When a man reaches 70 years old, or 75 years old, even 80 years old, he should call it bravery that he became this way. I don't know where he will go anymore. He will go to another world, but in the end it doesn't matter It's a cycle that will close, anyway.

Until ten years ago, it didn't occur to me, but now when I look at a grave and remember that I knew the Lord, my gaze on his sarcophagus melts and I think about how it has been transformed. I don't suffer much about it. I want to end it with honor and a blank page and say that this man left something behind...".

The minutes fly by and his special timbre makes you not want to be separated from him, but our coffee with the great Reshat Arbana this Tuesday in June in Tirana was just that.

*'Confession Room' exclusive column of Vox News.


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