Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Vlado Jovanovski, Marko Kovacevic, Jordanco Cevrevski, Elena Mosevska, Slavica Manaskova
Director: Svetozar Ristovski
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Wolfe Video Release Date: 07/18/2006 Run time: 107 minutes
'Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'You never get out of the sewer' is the sad summary toward the end of this remarkable film from Macedonia. Director Svetozar Ristovski co-wrote this screenplay with Grace Lea Troje, a story of the struggle of youths in a country devastated with poverty and corruption - a place without hope. The message is grim, the story is brutal, but the impact is stunning.
Marko (twelve-year old Marko Kovacevic in a brilliant debut) lives with his abusive, alcoholic father Lazo (Vlado Jovanovski) whose only work other than drinking is bingo games and who is in defiance of the American occupation of Macedonia; his mute and terrified mother Angja (Elena Mosevska) who remains a pathetic victim of abuse; and his trashy, angry, abusive sister Fanny (Slavica Manaskova) - all of whom hate each other and fill their hovel along the railroad tracks with cruelty. Marko happens to be a fine student who writes poetry and is encouraged by his Bosnian Professor (Mustafa Nadarevic) to write a poem for a competition that would reward him with a trip to Paris. Marko's schoolmates are disgusting thugs who beat him at every provocation: the Professor, fighting his own demons, does little to control his outrageous classroom.
Marko escapes his ugly household by finding a spot on a deserted train where he can be alone and it is here that the movie takes on magic. Marko 'creates' a friend named 'Paris' (Nikola Djuricko) who gives him hope that Marko can come with him as he leaves the little cruel village. Paris teaches him to defend himself and to support himself through stealing and shoplifting, all with the goal of escaping from Macedonia. As Marko slips down the path of crime his teacher tries in vain to feed Marko's hope of writing his way to Paris, but when the gang of boys force Marko to the limit, Marko's new self challenges them, establishing his independence. The two beacons of Hope for Marko (Professor and Paris) both fade and the ending of the film comes as a shocking surprise, yet one that mirrors Nietzsche's astute quotation.
This is a grim film to watch, overflowing with brutality of both the physical and the mental types, but the journey is worth it due to the overwhelmingly fine performance by Marko Kovacevic, a lad with the same degree of quiet facial expressiveness and acting skill as that of such greats as Giulietta Masina. The gritting, well-composed cinematography is by Vladimir Samoilovski and the haunting musical score is by Klaus Hundsbichler (with a little help from Eric Satie!). This is one of those films that is disturbing in the best sense of the word: it makes us think beyond our safe borders and contemplate the plight of the oppressed, both children and adults, in a country torn by recurring violence. In Macedonian and Bosnian with English subtitles. Recommended. Grady Harp, July 06
Illusion Through The Eyes of Marko
Kevin M. Harness | San Diego, CA | 07/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Marko Kovacevic was incredible, adding innuendo to his character's part with the brightness or dullness of eyes, a slight change of facial expression, or merely a change of emotion. Superb acting by this young actor. The movie told the story of a young boy growing up in Macedonia, complete with his country's occupation by American soldiers, a dysfunctional family led by a drunken father, and living in fear of the local gang of boys who beat him up regularly. Marko had a bright talent for writing poetry, and he could feel his creativeness grow and become a road out of his miserable life. But as you watch this bright young mind attempt to crawl out of the everyday brutality of living, you can witness the extinguishing of that brightness as a cigarette being crushed out in an ashtray. Beautiful boy, gripping drama, decently filmed, well worth watching."
"Be The Bullet..., A Poem For The Fatherland"
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 08/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Note: Macedonian with English subtitles.
Synopsis: Marko is a sensitive and intelligent young adolescent whose exemplary grades and writing talent goes unnoticed by his dysfunctional, abusive family. His talents unfortunately do not go unnoticed by the school bullies who taunt poor Marko, beating him up on almost a daily basis. Looking for a way out in hopes to find a better life he is encouraged by his teacher to enter a poetry contest, the winner getting a free trip to Paris to compete internationally. When an already abusive lifestyle escalates for the worse the aspiring poet is swept up in a maelstrom that demands more than a talent for composition.
Critique: Released in '04 director Svetozar Ristovski's `Mirage' is a sad commentary on the hopelessness and violence in Macedonia. Unfortunate but too often true, intelligence and depth is no match for rampant and widespread brutality and ignorance. To survive one must become that which he hates most.
Positives: Marko Kovacevic is superb as the shy and abused Marko. Possessing a face too attractive and expressive to belong to a boy, he bears a striking resemblance to the late American actor River Phoenix.
Worth watching, but be forewarned, this isn't `The Sound of Music'. My Rating: -4 Stars-."
One of the most amazing films I have seen in my life
EliteLamo | Manhattan Proper | 05/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Stunning. The cinematography is incandescent, the rhythm of the story pulsates, especially after the train scene. Simply magical to watch, gripping and eye fluttering images, and the camera catches every flinch and emotion along the way.
Kudos to Marko Kovacevic, what a remarkable performance. Visually he steals the show, and not since Christian Bale's performance as young Jim in 'Empire of the Sun', have we seen such an enormous role done with such sincerity and professionalism as Master Kovacevic. Although he barely has much to say the entire film, its the majestic unspoken thought in his eyes, the intrigue and despair we see through his face; that in of itself is magical. IMHO the best actors in the world, are the ones that listen and react to situations, rather than always speaking. Marko does this remarkably, if he were to not utter a single word for the whole film, we would still cringe and almost cry to see the boy go through the torment he went through just by watching his eyes alone. STUNNING!
A true, in your face work of pure cinematic genuise!