By Lisa Schwarzbaum
March 17, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

Before the Rain

A
type
  • Movie

Macedonian first-time writer-director Milcho Manchevski uses the geometry of circles to build this powerful, poetic, harrowing drama (in Macedonian, Albanian, and English, with English subtitles) about theincomprehensibility-and timelessness-of hatred, violence, and war. Children on a Macedonian hillside set fire to a circle of twigs, torturing a turtle trapped within; seasons change; and three stories link together, Pulp Fiction-like, to form an unexpectedly powerful whole. The first, called ”Words,” focuses on a luminous young priest (Gregoire Colin) who hides an Albanian Muslim girl from Macedonian villagers who claim she’s a killer. The second, ”Faces,” introduces Anne (Naked’s Katrin Cartlidge), a picture editor in London whose dinner with her husband (whom she has decided to leave) is shattered by gunfire, and Aleksandar (Rade Serbedzija), the dashing, Pulitzer Prize-winning Macedonian photographer who has been her lover. The third, ”Pictures,” brings Alek back to his homeland-where all of the awful, senseless misery alluded to in the first two chapters takes on a new context, and the rain in the title soaks the earth in a terrible downpour of tragedy, leaving a viewer stricken.

Before the Rain

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  • Movie
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  • Unrated
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