Before the Rain

Director: Milcho Manchevski
Screenwriters: Milcho Manchevski

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


In a world stricken with conflict, perhaps nowhere is the blood hatred more virulent than in what was once Yugoslavia. And this film, the debut of director Milcho Manchevski, is a tour-de-force examination of its nature and destructiveness. Before the Rain is structured like a triptych, but is very unique in that we are shown events out of their normal order. We begin in a Macedonian monastery, where a young girl has taken refuge. Pursued by gunmen, she is captured, and we witness the tragic consequences. The second sequence takes place in London, where a woman in a photo agency must deal with the reappearance of her ex-lover, a Macedonian photographer. And finally, we travel with the photographer back to his homeland of Macedonia, where he has not been for over fifteen years and where he personally experiences the changes and divisions that dominate and oppress day-to-day existence.

But a simple synopsis doesn’t do justice to the enormous intricacy of this work. Manchevski has developed a masterful critique which is so emotionally powerful and provocative that it resists analysis. Beautifully shot and dramatically restrained, this film is not just a passionate outcry but also a superlative and engrossing pictorial of the moral and ethical dilemmas that communal conflicts provoke. Although we can be intellectually aware of the brutality and pain which fuel the ongoing strife, Before the Rain raises our consciousness about the reality of their impact to another level. Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, this film represents significant creativity at its best.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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