A New Challenge for the Macedonian Cinematography?
We can start this text with the unavoidable conclusion that by a many things, the Aleksandar Stankovski’s film is… unusual. As first – with its production: with a lot of love, enthusiasm and sacrifices, for almost four years – the story of Maklabas, that mythic creature of the imaginary Mousedonian country’s mountains – was being filmed. It was filmed with the basic necessary equipment, like S-VHS camera, almost with no money. But, with the strong and sane idea for the 15 minutes long fiction documentary. That idea gathered around itself a significant number of wide known personalities from the Skopje’s underground scene, so it developed in richness and deepness, so at the end it got its final dramaturgy shape, so we’ve got the provocative, by its expression experimental, and ecological thriller Maklabas. It’s very positive the gesture of the Ministry of culture helped this expressive story to be transferred on celluloid, so it could face the wide cinema audience.
Aleksandar Stankovski is exclusively talented painter. In front of his paintings the recipient first stands in shock and wonder, and then he comes up with a numerous stories and meanings about them… And it’s not even a bit modest for such a person as Aleksandar is, to get the wish for animating those art of his, at first by two mid-meter video products, and now with a whole-length experimental feature film. Exactly with the placing his art in other medium, and with the placing of the intellectual energy in that same medium – the film, we discover the most unusual and rare expression of a film narration. It’s possible that the strength, the mighty power of the digital graphic animation and the power of the dynamic editing procedure to be a problem for some, eventually, but that phenomena placed in this film-making procedure is only in the cause / in the context of the wholeness of the film.
The screenwriter of this film is also Aleksandar Stankovski, who putted, in the basics of his idea, the eternal struggle between the Good and Evil. And, that struggle also based – as he claims himself – upon “the child mythology of the game of CAMAY”. So, the first progressive line, the EVIL, in a “Camay” manner, moves through the intrigues and the bloody games of the underground and the political upper-ground, with a big help of the outside power centers. All of the thriller elements are present here, but in Aleksandar Stankovski’s film, all of them are wrapped in a lot of visual effects and it’s quite difficult to exactly locate, or extract them for analyses. The second progressive line – the GOOD, is reserved for the romantics, ecologists, “non-compromised artists, poets and scientists, for the mentally sick, the alienated”… Namely, it belongs to all marginal structures of the society in the process of transition and changes. All of them, in their inner-simplicity are defending the mother-nature in the strange mounting’s world of this strange land of Mousedonia. And the both lines are linked by the police inspector Ansarov (played by the only professional actor in the film – Mirche Donevski) who is trying to untie and clear the threads of Evil. From the exclusive urban ambient, and from the dark urban periphery of life’s edge, the roads – slow but inevitable – are crossing and narrowing to the Mousedonian mountains, were the PURE GOOD dwells (in the entity of the creature Maklabas – played by Ilija Daskalov). The Nature has patience, defensively orientated, but in its tissues of purity, the powers of Evil will be destroyed. Maklabas fulfills his mission, and put in the armor of the civilization (the clothing) finally, he moves to some other places and horizons. The ellipse is closed! The narrator’s text, as the short but – for the dynamics of the story – essential dialogues are fully adapted to the film narration, leaning completely on the basic attributes of the underground culture – or more accurate, they are rousing from its integral philosophy. So, it is not accidentally that those dialogues are spoken (acted, performed) by such personalities like Mitko Panov, Milčo Mančevski, Zlatko Trajkovski, and Zaneta Vangeli (it’s almost unbelievable how much the camera likes her face – as it can be said: how photogenic she is – but also, how much she knows to move and act in front of the camera). It’s quite a gathering of the young Macedonian intellectual elite which on the “game” called film is expressing itself, its own idea of a different world, and its wish to be a part of the positive energy of that. And all that – artistically – well shaped by the explosive talent of Aleksandar Stankovski with the help of his specific camera, digital graphics and the editing table. All elements of the film expression mutually are functioning very well, so the “MAKLABAS” is pulsing very solid as a feature film, although very unusual in its own way.
May be this is the new challenge in the Macedonian film production? Well, the future is going to prove it or dispute it…!