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19:40, Friday 29th June, Thaw

Director: Rossella Schillaci (Italy)

Year: 2007

Run time: 57'

Location/Ethnic group: Basilicata, southern Italy/ Italian-Albanian

Language: In Italian and Albanian with English subtitles

Production/Distribution: Palomar Endomol

With sharp voices, the women of St. Costantino and St. Paul Albanese sing the most heart-rending songs. These are the ancient vjeshet, handed down from mother to daughter. They tell of the Albanian escape to seek shelter in southern Italy, five centuries ago. But they are also the creative expression of women who, to make light of their work in the fields, "threw" songs from one hill to another, to be "picked up" by the other women. Even today, the vjeshet are not said to be sung but are literally, “thrown”, using the verb shtie, whilst to finish a song, one uses the verb mbjedh, to pick up. This happens when one of the voices is picked up by the others, and all then conclude in unison. These songs tell the stories of brave and ironic women, stories of emigrations and returns. They are performed throughout the summer at simple daily meetings between the women, giving expression to the memories, the joys and the bitternesses that mark the life of each of them. As long ago as 1954, the anthropologist Ernesto De Martino organized an expedition to these two villages and recorded the vjeshet. But now, more than 40 years after that expedition, as they themselves relate, with irony, it is the women themselves who make the wider world aware of the their songs by giving concerts throughout Italy, and even as far as Albania and France.