Before The Rain

This striking and ambitious 1994 Macedonian feature by Milcho Manchevski, a filmmaker trained at Southern Illinois University, won the best-film prize at Venice and gained a big reputation at other festivalsmore, it seems, for the timely issues of ethnic and religious warfare it deals with than for overall dramatic or thematic coherence (though it certainly has its strong moments). Telling three interconnected stories set in Macedonia and London, the film begins with a girl hiding out in a Macedonian monastery and then shifts to the emotional conflicts of a woman in London (Naked’s Katrin Cartlidge) leaving her husband and coming back into contact with a former lover, a Macedonian war photographer just back from Bosnia. The final story deals with the photographer’s return to his native country. With Rade Serbedzija, Gregoire Colin, and Labina Mitevska. In English and subtitled Albanian and Macedonian. 115 min. (JR)

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