BEFORE THE RAIN
Macedonian writer-director Milcho Manchevski uses the geometry of circles to build this harrowing, poetic drama about the incomprehensibility-and timeless-ness-of hatred, violence, and war. The three episodes link together, Pulp Fiction-like, to form an unexpectedly powerful whole. The first, ”Words,” focuses on a young priest (Gregoire Colin) who hides an Albanian Muslim girl from Macedonian villagers. The second, ”Faces,” introduces a London picture editor, Anne (Katrin Cartlidge), whose dinner with her husband is shattered by gunfire, and Aleksandar (Rade Serbedzija), the prizewinning Macedonian photographer who has been her lover. The third, ”Pictures,” brings Alek back to his homeland-where all the 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 downpour of tragedy, leaving a viewer stricken.
Before the Rain