What You Need To Know:
(NA, LL, VVV, S, NN, A, AB) Political drama; 14 obscenities & 3 vulgarities; graphic violence -- Christian & Muslim factions use machine guns, children carry guns, bloody shoot-out in restaurant, brother shoots sister in back, & cat blown apart in slow-motion by machine gun; implied adultery -- married woman is pregnant by another man, & woman attempts intercourse in back of taxi with her lover; partial female nudity & partial adolescent male nudity; brief alcohol use; young children smoke cigarettes & boy, naked from the waist down, carries machine gun & pretends to shoot adult; and, Greek Orthodox monastery as setting for forbidden love, & gun-toting Christian soldiers as antagonists.
Director Milcho Manchevski’s first feature film, BEFORE THE RAIN, is a story of ethnic conflict set in London and Macedonia and told in three parts. It traces the Macedonian region’s political fault lines as they cut across the lives of a handful of characters, including: a young Macedonian monk who takes a vow of silence; a desperate Muslim runaway who takes refuge in the monastery; a London-based photo-editor who is pregnant by her adulterous lover; and, a Macedonian photographer who returns home and is forced to take sides in the ethnic conflict.
BEFORE THE RAIN is not an easy film to characterize, or even to follow. Vividly photographed with lush imagery, its three interlocking tales unfold against a landscape of earth and sky. The narrative structure is almost circular, ending where it began at a Greek monastery, and the performances, particularly by the dashing Rade Serbedzija, are uniformly excellent. While this is a timely, topical story, with numerous references to other war-torn regions, it is in no way a documentary or a piece of realism. Rather, it is meant to be poetry. An intriguing and intricate plot, marred in large part by graphic violence and numerous obscenities, will give discriminating audiences a realistic and often horrifying glimpse of life in that region.