Macedonia has some movie gems that will surprise you, astonish you, shock and make you smile – sometimes at the same time…
1. Пред дождот (Before the Rain, 1994)
Everyone’s favorite, this movie is considered one of the precious masterpieces in Macedonian cinematography. A collaboration between Macedonia, France and Britain brought the A-list piece, directed by Milcho Manchevski. What is just as amazing as the movie itself, is the soundtrack, created by the Macedonian band Anastasia. Eeriness, romance, sorrow, history, injustice – everything is combined here. While there is political instability in Macedonia, the UK has its own story, but three stories of love are complexly intertwined. The nature of war is the main focus for the most part and intolerance between the people. A monk vowed to silence allies with an Albanian girl on the run to save her life, both not knowing what doom awaits. While in London, in a different story, Anne is in doubts between her husband and her lover, having tragedies following her in a chain of events. The third story conjoins the first two together, leaving the ending just as the start…
2. Samounistuvanje (Suicide Guide, 1996)
This drama movie had its leading actor as a producer too, Jovica Mihajlovski. There is a comedy twist to it, weaving between scenes of shrewd jokes, strange humor. But, there is also the foreboding sense that something is not right or someone will get hurt. All family values are typical stereotypes of patriarchal upbringing, presented in a tragicomic way. Mr. Kuplung is a family man, a taxi driver with the passion for violence and women, disrespecting them all. To not make things weirder, let’s just say the funny Kuplung guy ends up with a girl much younger than him, under really weird circumstances. The end is just as weird…
3. Збогум на 20-от век! (Goodbye 20th Century!, 1998)
Directed by Darko Mitrevski, a dark-comedy-futuristic drama shows some pretty strange things and stories. The creativity is over the top – comedy and tragedy intertwine perfectly, but sadly, showing only tragedy in the end. Emotional turmoil, violence, cussing, and despair all take place in all three stories. First, Macedonia is presented in 2019 as a post-apocalyptic place with cursed people and wreckages. A man, Kuzman, cannot die and is, sort of, immortal because he is cursed. To remove his curse, he must read his destiny written on the wall – and it’s not good. The second story is set in 1900, with a footage of a wedding which ends up bad, and omens gloom in this part too. The last one, in 1999, is debauchery and negating of all decent moral values and beliefs. A ‘Santa Claus’ living in creepy funeral-holding home witnesses a tragic show in the home, while Sid Vicious blasts in the background…
4. Сенки (Shadows, 2007)
Directed by Milcho Manchevski, this movie is all about the spirits talking and how a dead person can still linger on, even more noticeable than the living ones. A gorgeous man is married and has a son, and even a good job too. He is quite a lucky person. But, people around him are pressuring him all the time and long story short, we jump to a scene of a car crash, and in it, Lazar, the Lucky guy. Alive and well, he changes his life fully and all the way after the crash. But, creepy and mysterious things appear in Lazar’s life after the accident – unexplainable and eerie things and one gorgeous girl in the midst of this all. However, this girl has a dark secret, as the rest of the eerie people in Lazar’s life. He is tormented this time, by all of them…Their secret message is devastating for Lazar.
5. Тетовирање (Tattoo, 1991)
With Stole Popov as director, this movie was completed in 1989, however, it was not allowed in cinemas during this period, and this was due to the disintegration of Yugoslavia. The story is focusing on the stop of socialism in Macedonia, where more gloomy events follow. The main character, Ilko leaves his wife and home, taking nothing with him. But, sadly Ilko is arrested for no reason while wandering around. In the prison cell, he meets people alike, and his life continues in a strange way. A tragicomedy, perfectly blending harsh reality and humor elements as comic relief.
6. Бал-кан-кан (Bal-Can-Can, 2005)
This Macedonian-Italian collaboration, with director Darko Mitrevski, shows quite the comic scenes every once in a while. Of course, there is that strange dark humor, as in most Macedonian movies. Action and adventure are seen in all scenes showing the crime-world in the Balkans. Why the Balkans? A Macedonian deserter and his Italian brother wander in the Balkans as they search for the body of a deceased grandmother. And the grandmother is wrapped in a carpet. And the carpet is stolen! The comic elements go on and on in this action comedy, as the two men struggle on a violent territory.
Give these movies a try when you’re in doubt about what to watch. Whichever you choose, you’ll remember it for a long time!