The Contradictories Rest
Macedonia without a Representative of Its Own
What one can say about this frustrating, film-deficitary-year, except to regret in vain? This year, Macedonia didn’t have any representatives at any International Film Festival around the world! At the 47th Thessaloniki Film Festival there were no Macedonian film representatives, although the hosts of the Festival euphorically “waved” the flag of the thesis that Balkan cinematographies should be treated more dynamically, in order to achieve greater quality in the knowledge of each others’ creative capacities and the aesthetic achievements of the other…
In lack of any film artifacts from our production that should be presented at the Festival, the hosts of the Festival pointed – although with a lot of hesitation – at the surrogate, the ex-Yugoslav Republics’ co-production Karaula, directed by Rajko Grlić, as the representative film for all national productions from the region that didn’t find place at this Festival’s program. That’s poor excuse, considering the fact that this film is with such quality, that – nor the author nor the producers of this film (including the Ministry for Culture of Republic of Macedonia) – can ever be proud of… And, by the way: only Macedonia didn’t have its own representative, so this film was “covering” only for us, then?
What we can say about our neighbors’ representatives? Serbia charmed the audience with the drama of several neurotic losers getting in the age of maturity – the film Tommorrow Morning #2 by Oleg Novković. The Croatian-Bosnian coproduction, the film Grbavica by Jasmina Zbanić, arrived at Thessaloniki Festival with the “Golden Bear” aura. Romania, closer and closer to the European cinema quality, had even four films at this Festival: the film 12:08 East of Bucharest by Corneliu Porumboiu, the drama about the common citizens in the transitional period after the communism; then, the film Marilena de la P7, by Christian Nemescu; the veteran’s Lucian Pintilie film Tertium non datur; and finally, the film The Paper Would Be Blue, by the young director Radu Muntean, the film chronic about the cruelty of the Ceausescu regime. The Slovenia in co-production with Germany, presented the war drama Warchild, by Christian Wagner, with our Labina Mitevska in the leading role; Albania, with a poor appreciation of the Festival’s standards, presented their veteran’s Kujtim Çashku film Magical Eye, with a vague reconstruction of the Civil War in 1977. Turkey, again unjustly ignored by the jury, pleasantly surprised the Festival audience with the picturesque chronicle of the isolated life of the villagers of a typical Turkish inner-country village – the film Times and Winds, directed by one of the greatest Turkish film directors, Reha Erdem; Bulgaria also didn’t missed ‘to spit’ on the anomalies of the old communist regime, in their representative, the film L’s Revolt, by Kiran Kolarov.
#3 Of course, the films from the Festival section named by the hosts as Balkan Review weren’t the most attractive part of the Festival program. In comparison with the representatives of the other cinematographers, unfortunately, the only conclusion that can be drawn is the fact that the authors of the Balkan region are fading in their invention and creativity, even on those who were ‘marked’ as ‘great hopes’ of their own national cinematography, as well of the future European one.
But, also, the past ‘great film nations’ didn’t really preserved their vitality and their prestigious status as ingenious innovators in the film art and as lucid observers of the social and psychological changes of the society. The festival’s chronic-writers not only here in Thessaloniki, but also at the Film Festivals in Berlin, Venice, Cannes, etc., can say that they look for their festival favorites among the ‘great film nations’ as Italy, France or Great Britain, or even Hollywood, but in vain: their pompous introductions for the films that come from those milieus, and their aggressive marketing through the world film market are poorly compensating their lack of originality and freshness.