Before the Rain looks like one of the most interesting of the recent Criterion releases. I was thinking about getting it, and I was wondering if anyone else had seen it yet and what you might have thought about it.
it’s an important film for the resurgence of non-linear/non-oneric narrative cinema. released the same year as “pulp fiction”. it won the top award at venice while pulp won the top award at cannes.
there’s a long tradition of excellence in cinema of the balkans, and this is yet one more great work. i haven’t seen it in ages though, so i’m curious myself to see the criterion version.
but the two manchevski films i’ve seen since then were horrible. so far, he seems to be a one-hit wonder.
I hope to add something to this thread when I get my copy of this film and watch it a few times.
I finally watched this, and was impressed by much of it and slightly let down by some of it. The portrayal of age-old blood feuds, schisms and testosterone-driven points of honor is certainly one of the best in films about Bosnia, Serbia, the Balkans, etc. Although I’m not sure Manchevski adds anything new to the discussion except some daPalma-esque gangsterish moments. The whole film looks amazing, almost painted — but I found myself wondering if this was a shallow response to the dead-end existences of the characters. Of course, people can live in beautiful places and still hurt each other. But I suppose what bothered me the most were the completely loose ends of Kiril and Anne — they seem totally abandoned by the script, and come back into it only to make frustrated, incomplete phone calls. I thought Katrin Cartlidge in particular deserved better, a more satisfying denouement. What, I think, worked so brilliantly is that every time you are sure that at last some reason will prevail, the worst is not going to happen, etc., it does, with the full force of a suicide bombing. Perhaps that’s simply a westerner’s difficulty at still being able to fathom the millennia-deep hatreds that permeate those regions and those ethnic/religious groups.
One other thing: the trope of the war photographer consumed with guilt for taking pictures of atrocities without trying to stop them was, I thought, a bit trite, and handled with much greater sophistication by Haneke in Code Unknown, not to mention (obliquely) Bergman in Persona.
interesting opinions. like i said, i really need to see the film again to re-evaluate it and be able to comment. i’ve only seen it once, and over 10 years ago. so it will almost be like seeing it for the first time, at least with regards to critical thought.