Part road movie, part film essay, part contemplative travelogue, Here Be Dragons is a richly textured and poetic journey amongst the history, geography and imagination of Albania.
In the past, cartographers wrote Here be Dragons on maps of areas they hadn’t yet visited, in fear of what could lurk there. Invited to the festival of Albanian Films in Tirana, Cousins sets out to explore the political, cultural and cinematic landscape of a country that was, for decades, one of the least well known in the world. Discovering that the movie prints in Albania’s film archive are decaying, he begins to contemplate bigger questions about the history and memory of a society still recovering from a devastating dictatorship.
Interweaving film clips with views of the city and its inhabitants, Cousins has produced an imaginative and intriguing essay, shot through with his characteristic humour and sense of wonder, that says as much about travel and discovery as it does about a country that is seeking a new way forward.