One increasing theme in international cinema is the abandonment of elderly parents by their children, who have moved on to a more modern lifestyle. A couple of the more noteworthy examples are Eternity from Peru and Aga from Bulgaria.
The Forgotten Mountain (Mali i Harrum) is an Albanian addition to this genre. In this case, writer-director Ardit Sadiku focuses on the plight of 72-year-old Rikard (Xhevat Qorraj), whose beloved wife has died and who has lost his home after his son forged documents to claim ownership. His daughter Ema and her husband Lorenc feel obligated to help him by bringing him with them to a cottage they own in a remote (and breathtakingly beautiful) region in the mountains of northern Albania near the village of Theth. The couple have their own problems, as Ema wants to have a child, but Lorenc doesn’t. So Ema begins an affair with a neighbor.
Meanwhile, Rikard is unable to overcome his despair. The local priest encourages him to enjoy every day that he wakes up alive. “Every day above ground is a good day,” he says. This advice does not hit the spot for Rikard. When he overhears his daughter and his son-in-law discussing giving up on him and putting him in a rest home, Rikard does not see a future for himself. For those who see The Forgotten Mountain and find themselves confused by the final scene, watch the credits and you’ll understand.
As bleak as the subject seems, it is well-acted, well-photographed and does not lag.