The circularity of violence seen in a story that circles on itself. The first film made in the newly independent Republic of Macedonia, Milcho Manchevski’s Before the Rain crosscuts the stories of an orthodox Christian monk, a British photo agent, and a native Macedonian war photographer to paint a portrait of simmering ethnic and religious hatred about to reach its boiling point. Made during the strife of the war-torn Balkan states in the nineties, this gripping triptych of love and violence is also a timeless evocation of the loss of pastoral innocence, and remains one of recent cinema’s most powerful laments on the futility of war. Awarded Golden Lion for Best Film at 1994 Venice Film Festival.
“Before the Rain” was an intensely evocative film experience for me. In the end, the rain comes.. Parched earth is transformed into mud, life springs forth. This redemptive end to the film made it all “alive” for me. With so much senseless death.. In the current world, and as portrayed in the film.. One needs signs of hope. Otherwise, what is the point of living in this world of madness? The film takes us on a magical dream-journey, far far from Hollywood, deep into the crucible of Eastern European politics and life experience. I was profoundly moved by the “cinematic theme park” the film offered. In spring, 1967, I traveled by train through Yugoslavia. I was living in London and on my way to vacationing in Greece, as the young hippie I was, with my hippie girlfriend. I glimpsed a land radically unlike any I had ever tread upon. I saw it all from the train window.. Peasants and their carts, the parched earth. This film gave me an opportunity, nearly 45 years later, to return. We need to watch films like this, made by daring directors, filmed by exquisitely talented cinematographers–so that we can look reality in the eye, sometimes right into the barrel of a loaded gun held by someone who will shoot. And who may shoot US.. I choose to believe in the redemption: the rains do come, new life emerges. Living as I do, surrounded by a couple hundred animals, I see death often. I weep… And I carry on… Living my life in paradise. What else can I do? hopefully, the film has deepened my resolve to serve, in this troubled world.