This exquisitely composed photo-novel by Frenchartist-writer Anouck Durand—collaged from photographic archives,personal letters and propaganda magazines—tells a true story that beginsin Albania during World War II, stops in China during the Cold War, andends in Israel as Communism crumbles.
When the Nazis invaded Albania, young partisan Refik Veseli and hisMuslim family hid Jewish photographer Mosha Mandil and his wife, whileMosha’s two small children posed as Refik’s siblings. Despite the direcircumstances, Mosha instilled in Refik a great passion for photographyand a friendship was forged in the crucible of war. After liberation,the Mandils left for Israel, inviting Refik to join them, but he stayedbehind to contribute to his new nation, not knowing that he would neversee his dear friend again.
Artist-writer Durand begins the story decades later in 1970, when Refik,having risen in the ranks as a state photographer, is allowed to travelto China and attempts to mail Mosha a letter, free of the Albaniancensors.
In a deft construction of the fictional, personal and historical, Durandimagines Refik’s voice and inhabits private thoughts that seem hauntedby the specter of surveillance. With nuance and restraint, she weaveshis story of enduring friendship with Mosha into another in which theblunt alteration of history and extraordinary acts of censorship takeplace on a grand scale, as two ostracized regimes—China andAlbania—attempt and ultimately fail to embrace.
In Eternal Friendship, the obscured path is the mostrevelatory, images that seem to have one message have many, andphotography—used at the behest of merciless state powers—becomes a toolfor resistance, liberation and human connection.