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Portrayal's of Albanians in Hollywood Movies

DDD

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Does anyone else thinks that the portrayal of Albanians in Hollywood movies is skewed?

The first introduction of Albanians and Albania in the TV media took place in my opinion with “The Simpsons” season 1, episode 11 named “The Crepes of Wrath.” Though it was aired in 15th of April, 1990 (i.e., no negative issues between USA-Albania back then or ever before for that matter), Albania is portrayed as the “unfriendly nation” nevertheless. A student exchange program brought a young student Albanian boy named Fadil in exchange for Bart who happened to go to France instead of Albania (interesting student exchange program – I thought the exchange takes place between same countries not a third one like France). The Albanian boy turned out to be a spy for the Albanian government, secretly delivering information about nuclear power. When he is captured from the feds the then exchange Fadil for a spy of their own that was captured in Albania in return.

The Crepes Of Wrath - YouTube

I read at our newspapers that the Albanians were being mentioned at “The Simpsons” because John Belushi (the Albanian American comedian that passed away) knew the producers and brought us to their attention. So it happened that we were suddenly in USA media because of friendly ties between well known actors.

In the movie “Wag the Dog” aired in 1997, the USA had to even proclaim war on Albania so as to cover a sexual scandal of the USA President. On one scene James Belushi (the brother of John Belushi who passed away) stands on front of news cameras and openly declares that he is an Albanian in the movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNo0BicRM8k

Then came some ridiculing. One of Albanians most iconic humanitarian figures, the beatified from the Pope, Nobel prize winning nun, whom dedicated her life for the poor and starving – Mother Tereza.

In Memory of Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta - YouTube

The ridicule came in the comedy movie “Scary Movie 3: Alien Invasion” where you can see small toys of mother Theresa’s, as well as her picture being smashed to pieces with a shotgun from the Presidents bodyguards while they were finding a way to be free from the "Aliens." The ridicule is a bit vague in that firstly, what is wrong with having toys of a beatified person who has died? And secondly the characters had to find a way out and were in severe distress at the time to respect a framed picture.

Scary Movie 3 Alien Invasion (Part 1) - YouTube

Then suddenly we are on stage as criminals! Albanians are portrayed as criminals in “Taken” in 2008 with Liam Neesen. Albanians are lowest order thugs whom kidnap young girls for trafficking them.

Taken Trailer - YouTube

The same theme follows in "Taken 2" in 2012. Ironically the Mafia boss was played lousily from a Serbian actor:

Taken 2 - Official Trailer (2012) Liam Neeson [HD] - YouTube

Luckily the theme was dropped for "Taken 3." But Albanians are criminals again in the comedy movie "Let's Be Cops:"

Let's Be Cops Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr. Movie HD - YouTube

The European versions of portraying Albanians as criminals followed. There is Dossier K (2010) the Belgium, Flemish thriller movie, where Albanians are portrayed as criminals involved in various illegal activities ranging from drugs to assassinations.

Trailer Dossier K. - YouTube

And Der Albaner (2010) which is a German movie that explains of a poor Albanian that must earn enough money in Germany to buy his love of his life, even if he has to be involved with human trafficking. He does gets away with it too, which brings mixed feelings and thoughts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V3c2IJT1dQ

Here is a disturbing scene of Greek border police brutalizing Albanians in the scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtFWxgHagUs

So one would say that the portrayals are skewed. There are other variations both within the theme "enforcers" (i.e., Why crime enforcers? Where are Albanian law enforcers? Military enforcers?) as well as other variations of Albanians altogether (e.g., politicians, intellectuals, researchers, teachers, sports, etc).

With such skewed exposure Americans and the rest of the world may have skewed expectations of us (i.e., prejudice). I think the stereotype of the "Albanian enforcer" has been overdone.

So again, does anyone else thinks that viewers are exposed to skewed Albanian themes and characters in the media? Is there a risk of a stereotype (e.g., Black athlete stereotypes, Italian mafia stereotypes, Asian workaholic stereotypes, etc)? If so, what do you think what kind of exposure of a new portrayal may balance this skewed portrayal of the "Albanian enforcer" alone?
 
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Apocalypse

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The Albanian organized crime in Western European countries and the US is well known, many Albanian immigrants to the West take to the life of crime and form organizations that are generally considered to be low reputation criminal organizations. Women trafficking, gambling and robbery are the main part of their criminal activities. I'm afraid that is the reason why they are making an appearance on many movies (and video games such as GTA IV) in the entertainment industry, since it relies on a realistic and believable picture of reality.

Claiming that Hollywood is picking on the Albanians by making these movies is like claiming that the Godfather was an attempt to pick on Italians.
 

DDD

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The Albanian organized crime in Western European countries and the US is well known, many Albanian immigrants to the West take to the life of crime and form organizations that are generally considered to be low reputation criminal organizations. Women trafficking, gambling and robbery are the main part of their criminal activities. I'm afraid that is the reason why they are making an appearance on many movies (and video games such as GTA IV) in the entertainment industry, since it relies on a realistic and believable picture of reality.
Is the realistic and believable picture of reality that all Albanians are criminals?

Claiming that Hollywood is picking on the Albanians by making these movies is like claiming that the Godfather was an attempt to pick on Italians.
The issue of "picking" is not even mentioned in my post.
 

Apocalypse

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Is the realistic and believable picture of reality that all Albanians are criminals?
No, and no one said all Albanians are criminals.
Do you disagree that Albanian crime organizations exist in the West?

DDD said:
The issue of "picking" is not even mentioned in my post.
It is clearly implied in the question you are raising in the OP:

DDD said:
"Does anyone else thinks that the portrayal of Albanians in Hollywood movies is skewed?"
 

DDD

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No, and no one said all Albanians are criminals.
Do you disagree that Albanian crime organizations exist in the West?
Right.

So then the issue for this thread is why only Albanian criminals tend to be the topic in recent Hollywood movies? Where are the rest?

You know, where is the tough bone, incorruptible law enforcing Albanian? Where is the good humored and intelligent old Albanian professor with a plis (i.e., Albanian traditional hat [I believe Jews also have a special hat of their own?]).

The issue is that by selecting to expose the audience to only Albanian crime enforcers the audience is selectively exposed only to a fragment of our society in bias (i.e., not to mention, that we are not proud of them neither!). It does not really does much justice to the rest of us Albanian majorities.

Would be like portraying only and only the Hebrew mafia for instance. How would that make you feel? What would you think of such a situation if compared to the variety and diversity of Israeli professional Hollywood choose only to portray the Hebrew mafia? Kinda skewed/lame/selective, is it not?

It is clearly implied in the question you are raising in the OP:
See the intended meaning of "skewed" in the above paragraph.
 

Reformedfindlay

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Skewed or not that is what they are doing.

My guidance counselor is Albanian, wonderful lady.

Just ignore it if it really pains you that much to see it. Hollywood won't stop for anything other than a bigger chance to make bigger $$$ and that is their right.
 

Apocalypse

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Right.

So then the issue for this thread is why only Albanian criminals tend to be the topic in recent Hollywood movies? Where are the rest?

You know, where is the tough bone, incorruptible law enforcing Albanian? Where is the good humored and intelligent old Albanian professor with a plis (i.e., Albanian traditional hat [I believe Jews also have a special hat of their own?]).

The issue is that by selecting to expose the audience to only Albanian crime enforcers the audience is selectively exposed only to a fragment of our society in bias (i.e., not to mention, that we are not proud of them neither!). It does not really does much justice to the rest of us Albanian majorities.

Would be like portraying only and only the Hebrew mafia for instance. How would that make you feel? What would you think of such a situation if compared to the variety and diversity of Israeli professional Hollywood choose only to portray the Hebrew mafia? Kinda skewed/lame/selective, is it not?
Well, I understand where you're coming from.
You're asking why do they show only the bad side - which is the Albanian criminals - and not the good side.
Well I think that is a question of relevancy, as the entertainment industry takes on themes that provide interest for its crowds and allows them to identify with the product.

For example, in the Albanian entertainment industry you're more likely to see Albanian heroes such as police detectives and brave Albanian men that do brave things.
Here in Israel, movies tend to revolve around the wars, religion, and local themes and as such their main heroes are Israelis.
Each entertainment industry provides its own themes fitting the interests of its crowd, so when we're talking about Hollywood which naturally has the biggest international crowd yet is based in America, the heroes tend to be American, not Albanian or Turkish or German. They are less likely to produce a movie that has an Albanian main character.

So when Albanians do make an appearance in such movies, the tendency is to show what the average viewer of such a movie would be more likely to know Albanians as, and unfortunately out of the many aspects of the Albanian identity the criminal one is the most known to Westerners since that is how Albanians usually make an appearance in their local news. Due to the impact of the Albanian mafia on the streets of Western towns. If a French mafia or a German mafia or any other mafia was as big as the Albanian one I have no doubts it would have been portrayed in Hollywood films at the same frequency the Albanian mafia is.
Likewise, you can see that Italian and Russian mafias are being portrayed more than the Albanian one in Hollywood products, because clearly they carry more significance in the West and thus are more used in entertainment products' themes.
 

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Does anyone else thinks that the portrayal of Albanians in Hollywood movies is skewed?
No more than the depiction of pretty much any group you care to imagine other than Americans themselves (all the British are criminals, toffs and/or idiots for example).

I think some of your examples are a stretch. The Simpsons episode was relatively gentle in context. Mainstream representations of Mother Theresa will be entirely down to her general fame, not nationality (I don't the makers of Scary Movie even knew where she was from). The plot for Taken was based on real situations (albeit exaggerated) and didn't really show the French in good light either.

In general, mainstream western films only really focus on a subset of existence and exaggerates or twists that. This means there is a skewed depiction of pretty much everything in one way or another. It's certainly nothing personal.
 

Lord Tammerlain

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It might be skewed but I would not be concerned about it.

I expect that the vast majority of Americans have nearly zero opinion on Albania, positive or negative, with only a vague idea that it is a poor eastern European country
 

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Does anyone else thinks that the portrayal of Albanians in Hollywood movies is skewed?
Hollywood pretty much portrays all ethnic groups except Jews and WASPs as skewed so you shouldnt feel too badly about it.
 

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Well, I understand where you're coming from.
You're asking why do they show only the bad side - which is the Albanian criminals - and not the good side.
Well I think that is a question of relevancy, as the entertainment industry takes on themes that provide interest for its crowds and allows them to identify with the product.
Okay.

For example, in the Albanian entertainment industry you're more likely to see Albanian heroes such as police detectives and brave Albanian men that do brave things.
Here in Israel, movies tend to revolve around the wars, religion, and local themes and as such their main heroes are Israelis.
Each entertainment industry provides its own themes fitting the interests of its crowd, so when we're talking about Hollywood which naturally has the biggest international crowd yet is based in America, the heroes tend to be American, not Albanian or Turkish or German. They are less likely to produce a movie that has an Albanian main character.
Of course.

But I meant American Albanians? Not Albanians as foreigners in USA being a topic for Hollywood. That makes less sense and has more to do with relevancy that you mentioned above.

But American Albanians are portrayed as criminals in Hollywood more recently. This skewed exposure may create unwanted stereotypes that could generalize to the rest of us with expectations that cannot be met from the overwhelming majority of non-criminal Albanians.

Thus I propose adding stereotypes to this pushed "American Albanian Mafia" one. This in order to balance stereotypes of other American Albanians in USA.

So when Albanians do make an appearance in such movies, the tendency is to show what the average viewer of such a movie would be more likely to know Albanians as, and unfortunately out of the many aspects of the Albanian identity the criminal one is the most known to Westerners since that is how Albanians usually make an appearance in their local news. Due to the impact of the Albanian mafia on the streets of Western towns. If a French mafia or a German mafia or any other mafia was as big as the Albanian one I have no doubts it would have been portrayed in Hollywood films at the same frequency the Albanian mafia is.

Likewise, you can see that Italian and Russian mafias are being portrayed more than the Albanian one in Hollywood products, because clearly they carry more significance in the West and thus are more used in entertainment products' themes.
American Albanian Mafia is greater than the French, Deutsche Mafia's, but are smaller than the Italian and Russian mafias in reality is what you are saying. Thus the movie portrayal is proportionate to the on ground reality theme related with crime. This may or may not be so.

But the point is, you have added stereotypes of American Italians in Hollywood. They are portrayed as Pizza makers for instance? Culinary artists? The men are portrayed as promiscuous and serenading with their Italian-English accents over their love partners? So these added stereotypes then balance the Italian Mafia stereotype.

For another example, Hebrews have been portrayed with various stereotypes also. The most portrayed one is being cheap. Some are about about Hebrews as good accountants. But this stereotype is balanced with the one that portrays Hebrews as therapists for instance. See the more stereotypes the better the representation of the variety within this American population.

Then you have comedies such as "This is Where I Leave You" and "The Angriest Man in Brooklyn." In these good movies that I watched recently Hebrews are portrayed less stereotypically. This is good a good achievement that arguably comes after being known out there with stereotypes first.

What we lack is that balance. The portrayals of American Albanians are for the time being skewed towards crime and unfriendliness. Some balance would be in order.

Like I mentioned, where is the old, wise, American Albanian good humored professor with a plis, white hair, and white mustache that manages to teach even thee most lost students? If it is interesting for Hollywood to follow up with ideas of "enforcers," then were is the tough bone, die hard, US military order American Albanian enforcer? The one that sacrifices his life to the last neuro-impulse trying to get the order done because it was a Besa (i.e., an Albanian vow) for instance? How about more simpler police enforcers maybe? etc.

Balance, and not skewing is what I am trying to communicate here.
 

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PoS

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Each to their own PoS. But thanks, I appreciate the sentiment.

Do not think I will watch that movie though.
Oh but its an awesome movie though. If you like gangster films the whole Pusher trilogy is a must see. ;)
 

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Skewed or not that is what they are doing.

My guidance counselor is Albanian, wonderful lady.

Just ignore it if it really pains you that much to see it. Hollywood won't stop for anything other than a bigger chance to make bigger $$$ and that is their right.
This is not about me,

The American public should be exposed to the variety of Albanian stereotypes. Not be exposed to only this single one in a skewed biased manner. Doing so may create prejudice. Prejudice may especially be bad news for Albanians since the stereotype is usually about Albanian thugs.

So the proposal is for Hollywood to continue making more "$$$" of course. But by using other Albanian stereotypes also.
 

DDD

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No more than the depiction of pretty much any group you care to imagine other than Americans themselves (all the British are criminals, toffs and/or idiots for example).
No but there are other stereotypes of the British for instance. The mostly portrayed is the "British gentleman." See there are some positive stereotypes that when combined with other stereotypes it may balance general expectations of meeting a Brit.

But if say the portrayal was skewed and only the "British idiot" would be on in most media, then prejudice may develop. Prejudice may create expectations and a preset of behaviors towards a "British Idiot." That may be offensive to Brits, not to mention that they may not be able to act according to expectations since not all of them are idiots (in fact a very small minority probably may be).

I think some of your examples are a stretch. The Simpsons episode was relatively gentle in context. Mainstream representations of Mother Theresa will be entirely down to her general fame, not nationality (I don't the makers of Scary Movie even knew where she was from). The plot for Taken was based on real situations (albeit exaggerated) and didn't really show the French in good light either.
But again, you have other stereotypes of Frenchmen. The portrayals are that they are good with wine, bakers, etc. These than balance the woman trafficking Frenchmen depicted in Taken.

On the other hand Fadil was an Albanian spy in the Simpsons. Most Albanians supported the French woman trafficking chain. While the only and rarest positive Albanian images that made it out there was smashed into pieces from the US president.

In general, mainstream western films only really focus on a subset of existence and exaggerates or twists that. This means there is a skewed depiction of pretty much everything in one way or another. It's certainly nothing personal.
No, of course not personal.

But, most stereotypes of other nationalities are portrayed in balance with other stereotypes of that same nationality. Presently there is no such balance with the portrayal of Albanians in mainstream media. We are portrayed as "Just Criminals" and that is it for the most part.

Some balance would be in order.
 

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It might be skewed but I would not be concerned about it.

I expect that the vast majority of Americans have nearly zero opinion on Albania, positive or negative, with only a vague idea that it is a poor eastern European country
If Americans have near zero opinion on Albania today, while the portrayal of Albanians is skewed towards crime in mainstream media, then Americans may become influenced and opinionated of Albanians in the long run. Constant media exposure of only Albanian criminals may create prejudice.
 

Lord Tammerlain

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If Americans have near zero opinion on Albania today, while the portrayal of Albanians is skewed towards crime in mainstream media, then Americans may become influenced and opinionated of Albanians in the long run. Constant media exposure of only Albanian criminals may create prejudice.

Most likely Americans will forget they were Albanians and think they were Russians or Chechens instead
 

DDD

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Most likely Americans will forget they were Albanians and think they were Russians or Chechens instead
Truth be told, the "Albanian mafia boss" actor did not spoke Albanian at all in "Let's be Cops." The language sounded more like Russian or Chechen.
 

DDD

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Hollywood pretty much portrays all ethnic groups except Jews and WASPs as skewed so you shouldnt feel too badly about it.
Why do you think Hebrews are the only ones with balanced portrayals?

What are "WASPs?"
 
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DDD

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So when Albanians do make an appearance in such movies, the tendency is to show what the average viewer of such a movie would be more likely to know Albanians as, and unfortunately out of the many aspects of the Albanian identity the criminal one is the most known to Westerners since that is how Albanians usually make an appearance in their local news.
Either to contradict that "Only Albanian criminals appear in local news" or to balance with additional stereotypes I know present another well doing decent American Albanian:

Benjamin Steak House’s Benjamin Prelvukaj – Of The Hightest Grade | THE LEVITY BALL

USA's #1 Perfect Steak Culinary Artist.
 

DDD

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Here we go again :roll:

In a crime serial in CBS named "Blues Blood" there is another portrayal of Albanians as criminals:

Blue Bloods Video - Albanian John Gotti - CBS.com

The only small relief that I have about Hollywood portrayals of Albanians is that they seem to always miss the name. In the movie "Let's Be Cops" the Mob boss' name was Mossi Kosic. The surname does not sounds Albanian, more like a Croatian or a Serb. In the "Blue Bloods" series above the Albanian Mafia boss (originally played by a Dardanian Albanian) name is Zoran Brasha.

Zoran is not an Albanian name :) . It is a downright Serbian one :lol: . So it begs the question: Which nationality is portrayed as a criminal in these movies?
 

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Gathomas88

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Are all Germans Nazis, or rigidly humorless?

Are all Brits effete flibbertigibbets with posh accents?

Are all Irish drunkards?

Are all Scots unintelligible neanderthals?

Are all Frenchmen snotty wine sipping cowards?

Are all Russians depressive vodka-swilling Communists?

Do all Japanese persons carry Samurai swords or wear business suits?

Are all Americans cowboys, or fat gun toting belligerent red necks?

Every country gets stereotyped to at least some degree. It's really not a big deal.
 
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