In my interview with Milčo Mančevski (Golemoto Staklo, No. 14/15, 2002), I have drawn a close correlation between his love of the fine arts and his (other) love – film. “I consider the objective as one of the fundamental elements of the creative-artistic process, because of the direct connection of art with the objective” – stated the author even from his earliest days as an artist doing performances and happeningsin 1983. Even though his cinematic cryptography has always subtly revealed this “secret” connection in his films, in Bikini Moon, his latest work, this has become overtly evident through the process of the decomposition and deconstruction of the film narration. The narration is fractal, fragmented just like in Cubism – Mančevski’s favorite style of painting. During their cubist phase,artists such as Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris or George Braque spread a web of imagination over pieces of reality (newspaper clippings, parts of photographs, paintings). This is also the case in Bikini Moon, where the gritty reality faced by the main character is overshadowed by the creative fantasies of the author, never truly allowing reality to hold sway over the artistic and vice versa. The clash of everyday life with the surreal or the metaphoric (the praying mantis, the group party scenes…), draw us equally into a sort of Dadaistic adventure of swirling obscene scenes, just as once the world was irritated by the lucid ironies of Marcel Duchamp, the absurd actions of Tristan Tzara,the fictional-faithful collages by Kurt Schwitters, as well as by the later phenomenal constructions of Robert Rauschenberg. This entire history of art is further enmeshed by Mančevski with the blurred impressions (akin to the photographic reflections in the paintings by Richter)made by the creative unarticulated movement of the camera, then with the intermittently edited images and effects of the latest scientific discoveries produced in the style of a music video/TV ad. Showing that he is an exceptionally gifted erudite, the author intentionally mixes old and new “technologies”, styles and genres mainly focusing on the relation between the document and its artistic interpretation. This is not just a mannerism captured in the film, but it constitutes a well-known process in the fields of the visual arts and literature: best exemplified by the novels of the most famous bad boy of today’s belles lettres – Frederic Beigbeder (especially my favorite Oona and Salinger). We don’t even have to venture too far, we have our own Goce Smilevski and his ability to bring to life the past in his mostly epistolary, but masterly literary appropriations of Freud, Spinoza or Abelard, which he uses to constantly, but non-explicitly allude to today’s reality.
The Italian writer Italo Svevo speaks of “making literature out of life, meaning that only a life that is not told in a story is definitely dead”. In the case of the latest film by Milčo Mančevski, Bikini Moon, the heroine is already expressed as a film character and translated into an artistic language. She is a wonderful personality full of life, creative and life-giving despite her unfortunate destiny. The director draws this beautiful woman out of the world of the dead, though always placing her to titter on the edge of Eisenstein’s staircase, just letting her barely survive on the brink of death. “She spoke her words in such a manner to remind us that in-between the threads of the torturous imposition of life, the essence of existence can be interwoven” (Goce Smilevski, The Return of Words).
This is how I would like to remember this film.
Skopje, 25 March 2018