BEFORE THE RAIN
DIRECTOR: MILCO MANCHEVSKI
COUNTRY: MACEDONIA 1994
CINEMATOGRAPHY: MANUEL TERAN
MUSIC: ANASTASIA (folk group)
CAST: Katrin Cartlidge, Rade Serbedzija (Alexandr), Gregoire Colin, Labina Mitevska
SUPER FEATURES: Well written stuff and awesome music.
One of the five finalists for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, this entry from Macedonia does not wait to let its position and feelings known. This film starts with powerful music and developments to get directly into the meat of the story.
The film is told in three parts, and we find that the ending of the story is in actuality the start of the first story. However, the photographs in the second and third stories are about the very first story. So we end up with what might be a cyclical story, but in essence is not. The priests discuss the continuity of the world and how things are cyclical. And for these people, and their families, the only cyclical thing is death, and senseless killing. The law in the hands of whoever feels he is in charge.
Macedonia has some intricate problems with the Albanians, and it is something which has lasted several hundreds of years, and has never
been fixed. On top of it, the Albanians do not have a homeland per se, because their space is occupied by the Macedonians. The usual religious divisions are clear. We have the Christian fashion and the Moslem fashion. The indication in this film, is that the Moslem fashion is
basically uncivilized, and runs its own rules. The Christian fashion adheres to its own biblical stuff, taken from the BOOKS. Which is the first part of the story. It is called WORDS. And it already depicts how the chants and the words of the religious structure already are failing in its desires and tasks. They do not stand by the young man, regardless of his culpability. Fate brought the young girl to his room, rather than another priest's.
The second story, exploits a photographer and his editor (lover as well, it seems), and his desire to go home and get away from the wars. He has just been in Bosnia, where things are not exactly peaceful. His editor and him can not get it together, she is still married to an Englishman, and the whole thing ends up in a tragic disaster for her.
And the third story, is the best. The photographer comes home to his own people. But they are still caught up in the lawlessness of their own country. And while he means well, and to rescue the daughter of the woman he would have married, were circumstances a bit different (she is a servant and second class citizen now), he is now faced with the same problem that we saw in the first story. The family structure is meaningless, in light of the political decisions that everyone has come to make and live by.
The brutal film then follows the young girl that has managed to save her life, and we are back at the start. Things are indeed cyclical. But does it really matter.? No. No one learns their lesson. The viciousness, even between family members, has fostered for so many years that nothing seems to be able to end it.
The sad point, and the film kind of drops it quietly, when Alexandr dies (he has a smile on his face), is that the best solution is for all this thing to come to the saddest ending of all.
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