Before the Rain

Director: Milcho Manchevski

Joint winner of the Golden Lion at Venice and subsequently nominated for an Oscar, Milcho Manchevski has made a powerful and impressive looking debut feature in Before the Rain, which also has the distinction of being the first major fiction film to tackle the Balkan conflict. Set in strife-torn Macedonia and contemporary London. Manchevski’s film unfolds in a non-linear triptych form and tells three inter-twined stories of love and conflict.
In part one (Words), Gregoire Colin plays a young Macedonian monk who has taken a vow of silenceand who inadvertently shelters a terrified Albanian girl from a marauding band of Christians who claim she has killed one of their number. Part two (Faces) is set in London, where Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist Aleksander (Rade Serbedzija) lives in exile and conducts a conducts a complicated affair with a married woman who is forced to choose between lover and husband when she becomes pregnant. Part three (Picturess) finds Aleksander returning to his native village in Macedonia, where his initial optimism is soon shattered by the murder of his cousin and appearance of his first love (now married into an Albanian family), who seeks his help in sheltering her daughter (the same girl being hunted in the first sotry). In protecting the girl, Aleksander takes sides for the first time in his life. Cleverly structured to reveal a vicious circle of conflict and destruction, Manchevski’s film largely avoids the grim realities familiar from television coverage of the former Yugoslavia to concentrate on the personal price exated by insidious ethnic hatred. As Variety’s critic noted, Before the Rain is a heartfelt, poetic and violently anti-violent film.

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