(on the two most recent Macedonian films: “Goodbye to XX century” by D. Mitrevski & A. Popovski and “Maklabas” by A. Stankovski)
Quite a long time in Macedonian cinematography, there is an inclination – strongly accented – for finding a new film expression; a latent search for a new Macedonian film. That’s especially strong after the Milčo Mančevski’s film “Before the Rain”, who stands on the Macedonian film heaven as the primary and highest pick of Macedonian film – maybe ever. This film came as a final fulfilling of all actual at that time – tendencies and occupations in the Macedonian film, then. So, somehow is normal the desire, or more accurate: the need for finding something new and fresh in Macedonian film, which is essentially the goal of every search in any art –something new, or at least different (because some of the art-theoreticians claim hat it’s impossible to create something completely new) to be made.
So, almost every film filmed here after Milčo Mančevski’s film, have that imperative of small or big experiment, more or less successfully (maybe more less, than more – successfully). The imperative of the alterity, as for now, doesn’t find any fertile ground on our film soil.
That’s why the intention of this text is to overview, globally, this two newest Macedonian films – “Goodbye to XX century” and “Maklabas”, to get the clear picture what new they bring to the Macedonian cinematography, and whether they enclose Macedonian film to the new, wanted poetics.
The fact that we overview this two films in comparative manner, or more accurate: in a parallel observation, isn’t by chance. The need of this will be cleared at the concluding of this text. So, let’s begin, step by step, on the most basic film elements which make the film what it is…
Goodbye… : This film’s fable, actually, is consisted by three almost independent stories. One of them is located in the beginning of this century, and it’s about the (assumed) first incest registered by camera on the Balkans, and about the inevitable punishment afterwards. The other story is located in (almost) present. More accurate, at New Year’s Eve in the dawn of 1st of January 2000. The leading character is Santa Claus who, disappointed and enraged by the people and their lack of moral values and bestiality – destroys the world. Preparing the world for the new beginning (maybe, because in the film that isn’t clear at all), he writes the future people’s destinies on a wall. The last story is located in the future, and Kuzman, the-one-who-cannot-die, is the leading character. He, in the quest for his own death, at the end is confronted with the wall with the written (by the Santa Claus from the other story) human destinies, and he finds out that he has to make love to his own sister – in order to die: the incest from the “other” other story. That would be the fable (or the consequential fables) of this film, in time-order.
Maklabas: The agent Ansarov is drawn into the strange, even weird investigation about a number of murders. The victims are the agents of various foreign intelligence services. Thanks to his contacts, he finds out that all those agents are involved in a cruel games concentrated around the researches and the exploitation of a very rare and precious mineral, even more valuable considering the fact that it is used for producing some very exclusive narcotic. At he same time, the science elite is hoping that with this mineral, they can penetrate the hibernated dimensions of the anti-matter. It’s been established that the mineral (the Green Diamond) has its own kind of conscience (the aspect of The Cosmic Mind).Ansarov, suddenly, finds himself involved into the cruel war among two multinational corporations fighting to gain the strategic advantage and control in the region where the mineral is, and to maintain free exploitation. All their efforts end up tragically because of their encounters with the primitive and ancient (mythological shaped figure) inhabitant of the forests – Maklabas, who is the ancient guardian of the mountains (so of the mineral also), so he doesn’t allow the exploitation of the mineral, considering that exploitation as a besmearing of the nature’s ancient innocence and purity…