about the film “Goodbye to XX century” by Aleksandar Popovski and Darko Mitrevski, alias…
1. Before the film:
Before the film, in the various newspapers and magazines, various headlines, like: “It’s time to awaken the Übermacedonian within” and “The film isn’t expensive, but precious” and so on, all in that style… in one of them, the authors of this film say (a quote): “ … one can’t escape from what’s written… ” I would add: … from what’s filmed – also.
2. After the film:
After the film, in the various newspapers and magazines – something completely different:
But, this text has no intention to continue this way; so, let me say what I think it’s the most important about this film…
Without even the slightest intention to interpret this film from any aspect, here, quite briefly, I will consider a few facts, and a few of mine personal notes.
Let’s start with the facts:
1. About the global impression of the film: the Public Opinion and the Public (the majority), didn’t like the film. But those who bring out that in public, actually forget to ask themselves about another fact: Wasn’t the actual idea of the authors was – to make the film likeable. Their public statements, as the main message (or the main point) of the movie – “; … the future is equally fucked up as the past”; doesn’t give any ground for such an opinion;
2. About the same: maybe the issue about the “;awakening the Übermacedonian within”; is more discussible;
3. About the (so much accented) quote-poetics of this film: the Public Opinion and the Public (the majority), barely recognize it, and they even less mean something to them. Those who bring out that in public, claim with every right that the most of the quoting, without a real context in the film, has no function. In the film, all that seems like forced and entirely misjudged and wrongly absorbed understanding of the postmodern poetics. So we must ask ourselves again around the fact: was that the author’s intention, or not;
4. About the story: or – the stories? Or: the embryos of the stories? Or maybe, about the attempts for the stories? Let’s leave aside the Public Opinion and the Public (the majority). Someone may say – that someone is hiding behind them. Well… in the film, there is a frame story; it’s even interesting the way how (in that chaos of dispersed quotes, bitter cynicism, nihilistic messages and such) at the end – surprisingly effective – the film closes with the cyclic move backwards… The fact which should intrigue us, is: why this move surprises us? We should ask ourselves that, because in that, in all that chaos, we almost can recognize – a structure? Or an attempt for a structure? Or, maybe conceiving of a structure? Or just ending of it? Was that the author’s intention? … ;
5. About the film media elements: incredibly good photography, it leaves the audience breathless. The same is to be said about the camera movements and the angles of shooting the scenes, so about the entire picture dynamics and appearance. The same praises can be given to the make-up and the set-dressing artists. And the film’s music is great and extremely adequate, considering what this film was supposed be. Those are the facts also. It’s a shame that those are the rare few elements of this movie worth putting out as positive. Maybe not that good, but also not that far from a praise, are the acting performances: if one wants them to be above the average, they should have adequate prepositions for that – and the basic prepositions should be looked up in the completion of the characters in the films dramaturgy itself. Considering the fact that the dramaturgy in this film barely exists, we should be more than satisfied;
6. And finally, about the fact – why we must constantly ask ourselves about the intentions of the authors: because they were the ones who (before the release of the film) were talking a new phenomena, actually about the new genre which they themselves had to name it somehow, so they named it as – ethnogoovy (ethno + blood + spilled-guts-and-brains-and-such…). It’s a new genre, isn’t it, and besides what we find in the film, there is no other way for us to get familiar with its aesthetic and poetic principals, right? That’s why we must ask ourselves that much. That’s a fact too, isn’t it?
Let’s continue with my personal notes (at the same order):
1. About the problem of how much likeable this film is: I’ve never, and nowhere encountered with an opinion (considered as relevant in the art for a significant period, today even less) that some particular deed, if it pretends to be an art, must be likeable. So, the lack of it in this film mustn’t be considered as negativity… What I want to accent here, is that this film is loaded with a potential to be likeable, even very much. Personally, I think it’s a great shame it isn’t, because, even if the future is equally fucked up as the past, I can’t see in which way the beauty and agreeableness of a film can be in the way of the expressing any message, even one like this;
2. About the awakening of the Übermacedonian with this kind of a film – personally, I can’t see how that can happen: it’s like waking someone up with a chloroform-watered fabric on his nose;
3. About the quote-poetics: lining quotes one after another, the pure collage for itself, with no any (at least) secondary meaning, if not even any deeper, can be easily misinterpreted as hiding one’s own lack of a talent behind some deformed postmodern poetics, which was exactly the case with this film. But, this problem about the talents I’m going to take under consideration later. What is mine to accent here, concerns the internal meanings of any deed: those meanings implemented in the deed just mustn’t be too personal, neither locally internal… They must have common ground and semantic links with a wider cultural or sociological context; only then, these quoting procedures can have any art-justified meaning. It’s usually called: the author’s attitude to the preceding deeds he’s quoting. Without that kind of an critic attitude, or with the attitude which can’t get out of some personal and locally too narrow semantic circles, this poetics can’t even pretend for any kind of an art, neither for any kind of a public media product . And we’re talking about film here.
4. About the story: Everything begins great; it looks and it’s functioning beautifully; until the moment when – let’s say – the speeding starts. So, until the appearance of The-Green-Hared-Man-Which-Plays-Tunes-On-His-Gun-… etc. From this moment further, there is speeding with the Light-or-Vorp-Speed over the most of the story elements which could (with a 100% certainty) make the film one of the best in Macedonian cinematography. And not only that: in our ethno-culture and folklore, there are so many grounds for this story’s development… So much – already highly developed motives, then so much magical themes and fabula, who just cry to be filmed in such a way. That’s what was expected (as natural continuing, and also as already announced orientation by the authors with the statement about the awakening of a Übermacedonian within) of the film’s story. With that kind of a story, that statement (or wish only) for recognizing of the Übermacedonian entity would be justified; it just can’t be done with quoting the Hollywood-American production or anything like it. I consider this moment as definitely the most guilty for the failure of the film: the story, actually the stories; and the scenario, actually the lack of good and minded one.
After the furious ending of the first story about the man who couldn’t die, with the speed who leaves the audience with no other options for interpretation but the message: this-all-isn’t-that-important-but-behold-now-what-happens-etc., comes the story about The Santa-Claus. Or, may be not: before was those short sequence, like journal from the beginning of the century, right? Good, that too brought us the similar message in its combination with the appearance of Santa-Claus. Here is the other story. In this part, there is so much stalling, so much slowness, so much talk… So much of that and the audience just can’t help themselves but to think that here somewhere must be the actual essence of the film. So, that audience watch – a bit of Alan Ford, a bit of “Naked Gun”; or “Top Secret”;, then a bit of this, and a bit of that… and at the end, that same Santa-Claus, after making quite a slaughter, promotes the new Noah, and writes the destiny of the future generations (before he destroys the world as we now it), including the destiny of the hero from the first story, at the wall which in the future what comes is guarded by The-Green-Hared-Man-Who-… What an ending! Now, everything is connected, and everything is good…? And why? Just to grieve more for what is missed as a chance… For those, at least two stories which could be at least two good films? Because, this procedure, in any case, doesn’t makes the stories – a story. All this reminded me of a recipe for a cocktail I heard once before; and now, with my sincere apologies, I will abuse the space which belongs to this text, and I will tell you that recipe: in the best of the red vines you have at hand, you add the finest coconut liqueur. Then, you add a small glass of the most expensive whiskey you can find in town. After that, you put in two or three drops of hi-fat pasteurized milk, and over that you put a bit of a sea-walnut and oregano, and a little pepper. Finally, you add a little powdered yeast, you pure all that mess into the toilet, and you go to the nearest bar for a good cocktail by your choice… ;
5. About the film media elements: the facts remain – the facts. Everything is on a very high level, it captures the eye and it enchants any desire for high aesthetic inputs… What I’m going to accent here, considers the issue I’ve mentioned above: the talents or the lack of it whit the authors of this film. I can say two things: As first, I don’t agree with the statements of the many that this authors are not talented. And as second, it’s not by any accident why I’m talking about this on this exact place of the text: because, the way this film is (technically) made is the very fact that disputes those who claim that this authors do not have talent. And, that fact isn’t the only one who claims that: here is the whole opus of deeds which this authors claim the rights on… That work, and that results stand as bulwark-protector facing and protecting them of that kind of a claims, but also, they stand also as a wall of accusation above its makers who allowed themselves such a failure at their first (attempt) for a film. That’s why we grieve and revolt over the lost chances for a good film, just because of those authors – who could’ve done much better. That’s why this text is – what it is;
6. And finally, about the fact why we had to ask and answer about all this: we said that here we deal with a completely (?) new genre, named as ethnogoovy. Well now, someone may be called Candy, but that doesn’t make him sweet… Because of the fact that I’ve already said everything I had to say, I’m not going to repeat myself, I’m going just to make my final accenting: that goovy-part – is entirely justified and proper in the film and it stands as a marking of this new genre. But that ethno-part… where is that in the film? Somewhere with the great musical support of the film, and in chronotop itself? That’s far from enough… That ethno should’ve been all around, in and out in the film, but mostly in what this film is saying. And it’s saying almost nothing. Even those like me, who always (after “consuming”; some deed which told them nothing) ask themselves first did they can’t understand the deed, or there wasn’t anything to understand, about this film had to admit the same I did: it’s not that I didn’t hear, nor that I didn’t saw, but the film didn’t said, and the film didn’t showed…
And without something to be said, why bother at all?