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It has long been common wisdom in certain parts of the Bronx that the muscular, tattooed man named John Rezaj should be referred to as “John” or “J.R.,” or maybe, if speaking with admiration about his approach to night life, “the Albanian Keith Richards.” One should not under any circumstances call him “an Albanian gangster.”
Yet Mr. Rezaj, a 49-year-old immigrant whose family fled Albania when he was a boy, has friends and associates across a wide breadth of social circles, some of them less consistently observant of state and federal laws than others. So in 2016, he was happy to help a young filmmaker who wanted to learn more about Albanian gangsters.
The two met on many occasions in Albanian bars and social clubs, where Mr. Rezaj and others talked about old times. Through these conversations, the filmmaker, Matthew A. Brown, started to develop a fictional story about an Albanian gangster. Then one day, Mr. Brown asked Mr. Rezaj a big question: Would he play the main character?
Now the film is complete and has been making the festival rounds, even while its backers are still looking for a distributor. Its improbable star, who has had no acting training and has spent most of his adult life avoiding both the spotlight and daylight in general, has found himself schmoozing with industry people at film gatherings and posing for selfies with fellow countrymen who have heard about the movie.
“To me, this comes natural, what they wanted me to do,” Mr. Rezaj said last week over afternoon cognacs and cigarettes at a bar, Luke’s Lounge, in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. “I grew up, you could say, in a gangster’s paradise.”
His Albanian fans aren’t the only ones watching. At the Method Fest Independent Film Festival in Beverly Hills, Calif., last month, the John Garfield Award for Best Actor was split between two winners. One was Ethan Hawke, who starred in the film “Stockholm.” The other, who on that night listened in disbelief while his name was being read (and pronounced correctly for a change, “REZ-AYE”), was Mr. Rezaj.
Funny thing is, he’s not acting. “Matt told me, ‘Act how you would normally act,’” Mr. Rezaj recalled the director telling him. “I just get into the zone, whatever.”
Mr. Rezaj was 6 when his family ended up in the Bronx after escaping Albania by slipping through the mountains, a journey he has difficulty describing without becoming emotional, so he usually doesn’t. “We were thrown in the trenches,” he said of early days in 1970s New York. “You just don’t come to America and move to a nice neighborhood.”
He was a street kid. “What 15-year-old do you know who has to come out of his house with a gun?” he asked. “You had to become someone else to survive. I had to be what the streets demanded.”
He got into trouble when he was 20. “It was a traffic dispute with a postal worker,” he said. “The guy assaulted me. I saw him a few months later, and I returned the favor.” With a baseball bat.
He stood trial in federal court in 1992 and was convicted of felony assault on a federal employee. He served more than four years in prison. “Gladiator days for me,” he said.
“I came out, and I took over the world,” he said. He opened a cafe, then a couple bars, he said.
By then, Morris Park had become a base of operations for an Albanian crime ring run by Alex Rudaj, called the Corporation, that sought to take on the Mafia’s five families. Mr. Rudaj and others were later charged and convicted of racketeering, illegal gambling and extortion.
“They didn’t want to make money the old-fashioned way,” a prosecutor said in 2005 during closing arguments at the trial. “They wanted to make it through violence, fear and intimidation.”
Mr. Rezaj, who was not charged in that federal case, declined to comment about whether he had a role in organized crime. When discussing that topic, he spoke in generalities, often smirking and shrugging. “Eventually, you’ve got to get out of that life,” he said in Luke’s Lounge. “Out here, my guard is never down. I’m a well-known person in this town. There are people out here who don’t like me. A lot of things from the past, they just don’t disappear.” His right forearm is scarred from where a bullet passed through 11 years ago.
Today, he lives in Westchester County with his mother. He drives for Uber. He was introduced to Mr. Brown when the filmmaker, who had become intrigued with Albanian gangsters after reading about the Rudaj mob case, arrived in the neighborhood and started asking questions.
“If I’m going to do something good and real, I’ve got to talk to these guys,” said Mr. Brown, 46, who was born in South Africa.
The two men hit it off, and Mr. Rezaj’s friends would gather with them, setting aside a habitual mistrust of outsiders. “Every time I’d go out with John, I’d hear a story that could be its own film,” Mr. Brown said.
Mr. Brown wrote a long script for an epic revenge film set in Kosovo and New York, then set it aside. He wrote a 12-page outline of a much more local story and showed it to Mr. Rezaj. There would be no script.
“He said, ‘You’re the story. You’re the script, all these stories you’ve been telling,’” Mr. Rezaj recalled.
Mr. Brown, with Mr. Rezaj’s help, assembled a small, mostly nonprofessional cast from the Bronx. Mr. Brown’s wife, the actress Ashley C. Williams, whose credits include the stomach-churning horror film “The Human Centipede (First Sequence),” plays a person of levelheaded tranquillity in a world of violent men.
The film, which was shot over 12 days in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, tells the story of Leon (Mr. Rezaj), a former player in organized crime who becomes obsessed with killing the informant who sent him to prison as a young man after he runs into the man in a bar.
In the course of the film’s lean 81-minute running time, Leon becomes unhinged in a swirl of cognac and cocaine, murderously stalking through barrooms and back streets with a pistol tucked under his tank top. Mr. Rezaj’s ability to explode with rage at the slightest provocation while in character is unnerving — and, he said, not an acting stretch.
“I can do that anytime,” he said. “The only thing I found hard about this job was the freaking hours.” He hated all the repeat takes. “Everybody would get it right, one guy would get it wrong,” he said. Then, another guy would mess up. “‘Let’s do it again. Let’s do it again.’ It was the worst thing to hear,” he added.
In one scene, Leon beats a man beyond recognition with a bat in a garage over an overdue debt. In reality, Mr. Rezaj was hitting a tire on the floor. He was sore for days.
“He’s truly like an animal,” Mr. Brown said. “He’s completely in the moment. He can’t talk about it, he can’t, because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
A rare disagreement between the director and the lead occurred after the end of filming. Mr. Rezaj did not like the title that Mr. Brown had given the movie. “I was disgusted,” Mr. Rezaj said. “I’m getting judged by that title.”
Mr. Brown pushed back. “Albanians tend not to like it as much,” he said. “Everybody else loves it.”
The film is called “Albanian Gangster.”B:
黄大仙波色预测表2017“【嗨】，【博】【士】【你】【们】【来】【了】。” 【汤】【天】【和】KL【宇】【航】【员】【还】【有】【两】【个】【人】【来】【到】【了】【地】【下】**【之】【后】，【此】【刻】【正】【在】【研】【究】【的】【一】【些】M【国】【专】【家】【们】【看】【到】【汤】【天】【之】【后】，【于】【是】【对】【着】【汤】【天】【这】【样】【的】【喊】【道】，【这】【一】【旁】【的】KL【宇】【航】【员】【因】【为】【他】【们】【是】【自】【己】【的】【伙】【伴】，【所】【以】【并】【没】【有】【打】【招】【呼】。 M【国】【人】【这】【一】【次】【之】【所】【以】【表】【现】【的】【这】【么】【大】【方】，【让】【汤】【天】【出】【现】【在】【了】【他】【们】【的】【科】【研】**【内】，【甚】【至】【是】【还】
【看】【着】【谢】【卓】【霏】【的】【小】【脸】，【战】【霖】【昊】【简】【直】【都】【有】【些】【嫉】【妒】【奇】【奇】【和】【妙】【妙】【了】，【真】【的】【没】【想】【到】，【短】【短】【的】【时】【间】【里】，【他】【们】【竟】【然】【会】【让】【谢】【卓】【霏】【如】【此】【牵】【肠】【挂】【肚】。 【心】【里】【隐】【隐】【有】【些】【酸】，【不】【过】【二】【少】【还】【不】【糊】【涂】，【这】【种】【醋】【可】【以】【吃】，【但】【不】【要】【吃】【太】【多】。 【于】【是】【他】【温】【柔】【地】【笑】【了】，“【霏】【霏】，【你】【与】【奇】【奇】【和】【妙】【妙】【是】【不】【是】【闹】【矛】【盾】【了】，【嗯】？” 【谢】【卓】【霏】【情】【绪】【激】【动】【地】【否】【认】，“【才】【没】
“【烈】【日】【下】【的】【生】【活】，【受】【尽】【折】【磨】，【为】【什】【么】【难】【过】，【为】【什】【么】【难】【过】，【上】【次】【去】【借】【你】【要】【钱】，【你】【为】【什】【么】【难】【过】……”【宝】【筝】【在】【楚】【随】【家】【的】【厨】【房】【里】【正】【在】【砍】【瓜】【切】【菜】，【就】【听】【到】【手】【机】【发】【出】【风】【趣】【诙】【谐】【的】【治】【愈】【系】【最】【新】【铃】【声】【版】【本】。 “【宝】【筝】，【你】【电】【话】！”【从】【外】【面】【边】【走】【进】【来】，【边】【叫】【道】。 “【谢】【谢】！”【她】【放】【下】【手】【中】【的】【刀】，【拧】【开】【水】【龙】【头】【冲】【了】【冲】【手】，【拿】【着】【挂】【在】【厨】【房】【里】【的】黄大仙波色预测表2017【老】【大】【妈】【一】【聊】【起】【来】【就】【没】【完】【没】【了】，【聊】【完】【了】【张】【秀】【莲】，【又】【聊】【到】【聂】【大】【师】【上】【头】【了】，【表】【姐】【提】【起】【来】【就】【满】【腹】【牢】【骚】，“【年】【纪】【也】【不】【小】【了】，【还】【和】【小】【孩】【子】【一】【样】，【什】【么】【都】【不】【会】【做】，【万】【一】【哪】【天】【我】【闭】【眼】【了】，【他】【一】【个】【人】【可】【怎】【么】【办】，【愁】【死】【我】【了】。” “【给】【聂】【师】【傅】【找】【个】【媳】【妇】【吧】，【有】【个】【伴】【就】【好】【了】。”【表】【姨】【建】【议】。 【表】【姐】【却】【更】【愁】【了】，“【我】【早】【想】【过】【了】，【前】【前】【后】【后】【托】【人】【介】
【孙】【悟】【空】【的】【神】【魂】【在】【一】【个】【广】【袤】【的】【图】【腾】【世】【界】【翱】【翔】。 【这】【是】【一】【个】【完】【美】【的】【世】【界】，【高】【山】、【峡】【谷】，【无】【边】【无】【际】【的】【海】【洋】、【苍】【茫】【浩】【大】【的】【土】【地】。 【在】【这】【看】【不】【到】【边】【际】【的】【世】【界】【里】，【他】【就】【如】【沧】【海】【一】【鳞】，【微】【不】【足】【道】。 【但】【这】【个】【世】【界】【的】【一】【切】，【都】【是】【图】【腾】【所】【化】。 【图】【腾】，【是】【一】【种】【文】【字】，【可】【以】【造】【化】【万】【物】。 【它】【造】【化】【的】【世】【界】，【正】【是】【鸿】【蒙】【世】【界】【的】【倒】【影】。
【唐】【准】【备】【起】【身】【却】【被】【图】【拉】【格】【按】【住】【了】【手】，【那】【双】【真】【诚】【的】【眼】【神】【看】【着】【他】，【声】【音】【里】【带】【了】【点】【渴】【求】：“【你】【倒】【是】【说】【点】【什】【么】【啊】！” 【唐】【立】【马】【抽】【回】【了】【手】，【那】【眼】【神】【虽】【然】【真】【诚】，【但】【看】【久】【了】【不】【知】【为】【何】【浑】【身】【鸡】【皮】【疙】【瘩】【都】【起】【来】【了】。 “【是】【你】【应】【该】【说】【点】【什】【么】【吧】。”【唐】【揉】【了】【揉】【自】【己】【的】【小】【手】，【图】【拉】【格】【的】【手】【太】【凉】【了】。【一】【会】【儿】【觉】【得】【对】【视】【的】【时】【候】【不】【自】【在】，【一】【会】【儿】【又】【觉】【得】【被】
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