Region: Europe Name of Movie: Before the Rain
According to the International Movie Database (www.imdb.com) Milcho Manchevski left his native Macedonia to study film in college in the U.S. Before the Rain is his first full-length feature, which he returned to his native country to make. It is an inspirational tale about the senselessness of war and the fragility of humans and their loves. It has an intriguing, if not wholly original non-linear narrative structure. Through three episodes titled, “Words,” “Faces,” and “Pictures,” respectively, the viewer is introduced to three characters whose lives interconnect from minute to strongly significant ways.
Before the Rain is about Macedonians and Albanians and the deep-rooted hatred and mistrust that exists. Filmed on location in Macedonia the images captured in the movie show a dry dirt filled valley area filled with jagged mountainous rocks and patches of green. Episode one Words takes place around a monastery high on a cliff overlooking Lake Ohrid. In Words Kiril is a young novice in an Orthodox monastery who cannot help but hide Zamira, a fugitive Albanian girl, from the villagers who want to execute her for murdering a shepherd. The Christian Orthodox men where robed in gowns of black. The men and women mostly seem jobless but most likely they work with agriculture or mining. The climate which is also corresponds with the CIA is of dry sunny days during the summer time. Like the title explains this happens before the rain comes.
Faces deals with Anne, in England, a photo editor is becoming more disaffected with her husband Nick while experiencing a difficult, confused relationship with her lover, Aleksandar an award-winning native Macedonian photographer. Manchevski creates a montage to show the city of London and its inhabitants. England an essentially capitalistic economy is one of the quartet of trillion dollar economies of Western Europe the CIA sites. England is a developed nation with the movie taking place in an industrial city setting, London, not to different than that of an American city.The people themselves tend to be well dressed but a shot of some punks are shown and Beastie Boys music being played shows what influence Americas culture has on them.With them movies theme on ethnic tension a scene in a bar/restaurant depicts not only the story of Annes personal crisis but also a feud between two outsiders. Their nationality and language is unimportant but the fact that there is that same conflict of the Macedonians and Albanians is present in London also.
Finally Pictures, Aleksandar returns to his native village, only to find that the overall life hood has radically changed, and the simple life he tries to rediscover has since been made more complex by the feuds with the Albanians. The wars in former Yugoslavia have reverberated in every corner of that region, and have ignited all manner of subsequent ethnic and religious conflicts within the newly formed republics. The republic of Macedonia is experiencing its share of strained relations being nestled in between the countries of Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania. A significant Albanian Moslem minority feuds with the dominant Orthodox Christian Slav population. Men carrying arms walk everyday through the boarder of Albania and Macedonia despite the presence of U.N. peacekeeping forces. Aleksandar takes a plane from England to a Macedonian city, then a bus ride through to dirt filled roadway to his farmland village. In the same mountainous valley land as the first episode of the film is his house that is in poor condition. Most of the homes in Macedonian shown in the film are developing housings or built without major company help. They are brick or most likely stones stacked up with boards for walls. The cold winters and heavy snowfall as stated in CIA must but hard for the Macedonians and those that inhabit the area. Aleksander also travels to the village of his youthful love Hana. Hana lives in an Albanian village that is within walking distance of Aleksanders village because he walks there and back within a day. These two villages are radically different, one being Alexsanders Macedonian Orthodox and the other Hanas Albanian Muslims (most reconizable by their beads they carry).
The ethnic tensions between Macedonia and Albanian are due to geographic terrain and location of bordering each other and other countries as Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece.Macedonia, according to CIA, is a major transportation corridor from Western and Central Europe to Aegean Sea and Southern Europe to Western Europe. The physical attributes of these countries are not the only thing they each share, but also the human passion regardless about what side you are on. Today parliament voted to authorize preparations for changes in the Macedonias constitution, which should give more rights to the Albanian population if its passed. The UN are seen in the movie, but they are shown not doing to much of anything, however today a force of up to 5,000 Nato troops can now resume their collection of weapons held by Albanian rebels in Macedonia (according to the web site of http:// news.bbc.co.uk /hi/english/ world/europe /newsid_1331000/1331772.stm). There has always been the fear that a war inside Macedonia could drag in its neighboring countries to a regional conflict. That would be a worst-case scenario that the international community is desperate to avoid.