We gave it a B
In the anguished Macedonian drama The Great Water, adapted from Zhivko Chingo’s novel by director Ivo Trajkov, an ailing Communist politician conjures deathbed memories of his tormented boyhood in a Stalinist orphanage for children of political offenders. No kindly teacher steps in, á la Les Choristes, offering the balm of music. But wait, it gets sadder, with imagery even more fevered: The young Lem (Saso Kekenovski) admires Isak (Maja Stankovska, a girl believably cast as a boy), a mysteriously spiritual newcomer, who in turn is attracted to a fervent party follower, who. . .Well, none of it is good, and all of it, Chingo and Trajkov suggest, goes into shaping a Macedonian national identity uneasily poised between religious longing and ideological resolve.