The project called Maklabas, who, at the end became the long-meter film with durance of a 1h. 53min. (or in letters: one hour and fifty-three minutes), came from a very different idea at the beginning: as the authors Alexander Stankovski – Rembrandt and Vlatko Galevski say, it should’ve been a fictional ecology documentary, with a narrative and fictional orientation. But if we rephrase the words the one of the authors of the film: “Maklabas,” simply, got out of the control and grew into the something, at last, in that what could’ve been seen on the opening night of the Film Camera Festival “Manaki Brothers” in Bitola this year.
And that’s a long-meter film with – we want be out of order if say so – some very new and bold steps out of the Macedonian film praxis since.
What’s that which is interesting for a text of this kind, a text which intention isn’t to analyze or evaluate, but to present and announce?
As first, there are the conditions under which this film is made (as a curiosity and remainder that if you are persistent and only if you want something enough!!! – everything is possible! Because anyway, nobody made a movie drinking beer only). What are those conditions? Briefly: the most of the work on the film is done exclusively and only with the persistent and sincere wishes and work – namely, with the enthusiasm of all the people that has worked on the film (and they’re many), and of those who has helped (and they’re even more). Even when we come to the finances, they managed to succeed that, either!
And as second, but not less significant (I would say even more) is that, maybe exactly because of the fact that this film wasn’t planned as a fiction film at the start, and because of the cinematography experience in the video-art of the director, as because of the specific, we may say – philosophical mood – of that group of movie-makers who did shaped the film, that film became a very interesting phenomena.
Let’s stop the chit-chat; here is the identity card of the film:
1. Who is who in this film:
Independent Production; Co-production for Macedonia: A1 television
written and directed by: Alexander Stankovski
producer and director of photography: Vlatko Galevski
edited by: Vojo Živojnović
production manager, video-effects: Igor Andreevski
starring: Mirče Donevski, Vlado Mančevski, Ilija Daskalov; then, The Karter, Putica, Džabir Derala, Milčo Mančevski, Maja Lape, Bubo Karov, Nikola Gelevski, Dime Ignjatov – B’gm, Vlado Petreski, Baškim Ademi, Žaneta Vangeli, Jovan Manasievski, etc., etc., etc. …
crew: Mitko Panov, Zlatko Trajkovski – Hinki, Hristo Pop Dučev, Robi Pašovski, Toni Adžinikolov; then, Brand Ferro, Irina Romanova, Saša Zajkov, Dragan Abjanić, Ljubiša Ivanovski, Nehru Hodža; and Vlatko Kiborg, Antonio Ansarov, Žak, Cane Phantom, etc., etc., etc.
As it can be seen, you’ve never seen something like this in our neighborhood, eh? Mostly of the actors aren’t professional, but they are all artists, or at least – the art lovers; at the same time, they all are very charismatic and successful figures in their areas of work… Interesting, don’t you think so? Then, let’s go on to the next part – I’m sure you won’t change your mind:
2. What is this film:
– thriller: criminal, political, spy.
– drama: psychological, ecological
– video art: video art
Here, maybe, is the greatest value of this film, excluding its semantics: in the very experiment, in the multi-medial and the multi-genre interference, especially the video-art elements which can be the adequate replacement (even better) as of the standard special effects, so of the semantics of the film they bring.
Well, now, this kind of a “mix” in only one film – it can result in two ways only: the film is great, or the film is very bad! There is no third option. As in like any experiment. But, considering the whole “team” which made this movie, we are full of good hope and great expectations about it, waiting for the Skopje Opening in November this year…
3. The story of this film:
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…
4. About the music in this film:
А soundtrack in three various genres and styles, made by some of those we mentioned above, recorded in Dolby stereo surround system. The sound is varying from techno sounds, through the ambient sound to the hard rock, and with surplus of something else…
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The film itself, has been worked on almost 4 years, slowly, but certain… The whole financial construction is independent, with wide help of A1 Television, excluding the transfer of the video material on a celluloid (the real film track, eh?), which was financed by the Ministry of Culture for the Republic of Macedonia – thanks to the good will and help of the Minister Slobodan Unkovski itself. As the director of the film Stankovski said in one of his interviews: “that was very significant and important to us, because without that financial help, this film would remain at the level of a TV or video format.
But something else is also interesting: in one our dialog with the director of photography Vlatko Galevski, he pointed at one – internal for time being term of Art –terrorism, and I think that this term will grow wide into our grounds… It signifies their particular way of filming and producing this movie.
Art-terrorism … When, in lack of finances, you want to film the mass scene, or you lack in finances for the wardrobe (uniforms or such…) or something similar, then you approach to this technique: you take the camera in your hands (or shoulder), you take the actors (ready for the set, make up, wardrobe and requisition done) with you, so you get to the exact spot where you want to shoot, and in spite of all the accidental pedestrian population and curious piping eyes, you do the scene…
Oh, yes! I forgot something: if you wish to do a mass scene, then, you must to wait for some mass protest, riots and demonstrations, or people’s outdoors festivities. As example, the University student’s protest, political demonstrations, concerts, even the church festivity ritual of throwing the Cross into the river waters of Vardar, and here you have your Church Bishop in the film as an actor!
And here, in this grounds of the Balkans, that isn’t a problem at all – as Vlatko Galevski claims (from his own experience?) – to wait for such an events… In Macedonia you don’t have to wait that long for the event of this kind: so, the Mecca for the art-terrorists! And so: you just go in with the camera and your crew, and – shoot! There are no two scenes that are the same, there are no takes, it’s one take only, ’cause every scene is different, so you have a great deal of various choices of the scenes you can put in the movie ( a choice which gonna give you trouble at the post-production activities).
By the words of Alexander Stankovski, the first raw material was of the duration over 70 hours! You can only imagine how many hours they needed to cut it to the final 1hour and the fifty-three minutes.
And at last, at the end, let me inform you about the Skopje Opening: On, or somewhere Around the 13th of November, 1998, in Skopje, on the City Cinemas repertoire, “Maklabas” will happen.
See the film. And we promise that in one of the very next issues of Blesok we are going to write again of this film, but a posteriori, with the analysis and some thoughts about the media, the genre and the structural-semantic values of this film…