A Cup of Coffee and New Shoes On is the latest International Feature submission for Albania. This incredible, subtle, quiet film is about two inseparable deaf-mute identical twin brothers who begin to experience signs of blindness.
Set in Tirana, Agim and Gezim live together in an apartment. As they’re both deaf-mute they rely on each other for everything, but they also count on Gezim’s girlfriend Ana for help when communicating with others. They own a carpentry workshop and frequently play card games and drink socially with a small group of friends. Life is routine for them and that’s the way they like it.
Agim however, begins to notice signs that there’s something wrong with his eyesight. He’s unable to see things clearly as before and during a small getaway to a small village outside of Tirana he reveals to Gezim that he needs to see a doctor right away.
Agim discloses with the doctor that he’s been having issues with his sight for the past year. After a series of examinations, the doctor discloses that his eyes are irreparably damaged and that gradually he will go blind. And since they’re monozygotic twins, Gezim will also suffer the same fate.
It’s very rare for deaf patients to go blind as well, but due to a genetic and rare disease this irreversible condition will forever change their lives.
Director Gentian Koci has created one of the most touching, heartbreaking, unique films of the year. Filmed with no music, no sound, and with no special effects, Gentian has allowed this story, which is inspired by true events, to take over with such raw and pure emotions. This film wouldn’t have succeeded without the incredible lead actors who spent six months learning the Albanian sign language to properly portray this story authentically.
This film hit me really hard. It made me really think that life, and all the beauty surrounding us, needs to be appreciated daily. It’s the little things that make life worthwhile, like a cheery smile, a kind gesture or for the brothers, a little human touch. And likewise, even in the most unexpected places or in the worst-case scenarios there can still be moments of pure joy and happiness. Films like this one are the reason why I've delved head on into watching each and every submission for International Feature. These incredible films are bringing us some of the most unique, fantastic, touching stories and I'm so grateful to have been able to have watched this one.