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Bekim Fehmiu's Memoirs: A Brilliant And Terrible Journey Through The 20th Century


Bekim Fehmiu's memoirs: A brilliant and terrible journey through the 20th century




Bekim Fehmiu was one of the greatest actors of former Yugoslavia. He was the first Albanian academic and film actor who performed in theaters and movies across the country. He also starred in Hollywood during the Cold War, becoming the first Eastern European actor to do so. He was dubbed the "Yugoslav heart-throb" by The New York Times for his youthful conquests and acquaintances with the likes of Brigitte Bardot and Ava Gardner.




Bekim Fehmiu's memoirs: A brilliant and terrible journey through the 20th century


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In 2001, Samizdat B92 published his autobiography "Blistavo i strasno" (Brilliant and Terrible), which he finished in 1985 but decided to publish after 14 years of silence. He withdrew from public life in protest against the anti-Albanian propaganda and the spread of hatred towards Albanians. His memoirs are written in an exceptionally lyrical tone, and skillfully intertwine his personal history with the events that shaped the official history of the 20th century.


The book covers his childhood in Sarajevo, Skadar and Prizren, in the years before and during the Second World War, until 1954. He recalls his family origins, his father's nickname Fehmiu that became their surname, his mother's love and care, his school days, his first encounters with theater and cinema, his friendships and rivalries, his joys and sorrows, his dreams and fears. He also depicts the social and political atmosphere of the time, the ethnic tensions, the violence, the poverty, the resistance, the solidarity.


"Blistavo i strasno" is a document of a life that was both brilliant and terrible, as well as a testimony of a turbulent era that shaped the destiny of many people in the Balkans. It is one of the best-written books in Serbian language in the last decade, according to writer Miljenko Jergovic. It is also a tribute to a man who left a mark in the artistic scene both at home and abroad.


The book is available for free download at archive.org, or you can buy it on goodreads.com.


Bekim Fehmiu's memoirs are full of vivid scenes and memorable characters that bring his story to life. He writes with humor, emotion, and honesty, revealing his inner thoughts and feelings, as well as his observations and opinions. He does not shy away from describing the hardships and horrors he witnessed and experienced, but he also celebrates the beauty and joy of life.


Some of the quotes from the book are:


  • "Ne, sine, ne. NeÄe viÅe doÄi, mirno spavaj - odgovori mi Dija i ututka me jorganom. Iz daljine se Äuju rafali mitraljeza, Åto znaÄi da Äe uskoro zora." ("No, son, no. He won't come back, sleep peacefully - Dija answered me and tucked me in with a quilt. In the distance, machine gun bursts can be heard, which means dawn is coming soon.")



  • "Kad sam se vratio u klasu i seo na svoje mesto, svi su me gledali kao da sam neki heroj. Nisam bio heroj. Bio sam samo dete koje je htelo da bude glumac." ("When I returned to the class and sat down in my place, everyone looked at me as if I was some hero. I was not a hero. I was just a child who wanted to be an actor.")



  • "Nikad nisam voleo da se svaÄam sa ljudima koje volim. Uvek sam mislio da je svaÄa besmislena i da samo stvara nepotrebne probleme. Ali ponekad je svaÄa bila neizbeÅna i tada sam se branio onako kako sam znao i umeo." ("I never liked to argue with people I love. I always thought that arguing was pointless and that it only created unnecessary problems. But sometimes arguing was inevitable and then I defended myself the way I knew and could.")



  • "Gluma je za mene bila viÅe od zanimanja. Bila je moja strast, moja ljubav, moj naÄin Åivota. Gluma je bila moj naÄin da izrazim sebe, da kaÅem Åta mislim i oseÄam, da pokaÅem ko sam i Åta mogu." ("Acting was more than a profession for me. It was my passion, my love, my way of life. Acting was my way of expressing myself, of saying what I think and feel, of showing who I am and what I can do.")



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