Sarajevo: Gentian Koci Breaks Ground With 1st Feature Film, ‘Daybreak’

Albanian director Gentian Koçi is at the Sarajevo Film Festival for the world premiere of his first feature film, “Daybreak,” an intimate drama about an impoverished and desperate young mother who, with her child, moves in with an ailing and bedridden elderly woman. The film tells a powerful story of desperation that, according to the director, explores the moral compromises all people have to make in their “ceaseless struggle for economic security, or even survival.”

Koçi spoke to Variety about “Daybreak” ahead of its premiere Sunday.

What motivated you to tell this story?

“Daybreak” is a fictional story. It is not based on real events, but it is somehow distilled from my everyday life observations, intuition, and imagination of other people’s day-by-day struggle to keep going on in a society very “productive” of insecurities. I’m more and more convinced that this system of insecurities to which most of us are exposed is creating a grey zone of human relations. In the so-called modern life, I believe there is a very subtle line between desperate motivations of lost souls and human tenderness. I wanted to tell a powerful and emotional story of a young single mother fighting very hard to keep her job and new roof, at any price. Feeling constantly insecure is very familiar to practically all of us.

The main character is situated in a context where today’s political and economic system, sometimes absent and sometimes overly present, functions like a vice jaws mechanism – it is constantly pressing on people’s lives, cutting out all possibilities for them to live worthily. It is precisely due to these implicit mechanisms that people instead of fighting together for a better life, they fight against each other.

To what extent is the film a social commentary on Albanian society in general or a reflection of life in modern-day Tirana?

“Daybreak” is set in today’s Tirana. I believe a story must be universal,…

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