Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Before the Rain

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Before the Rain

Article excerpt

Milcho Manchevski's "Before the Rain," the first feature made in the post-Yugoslavian state of Macedonia, deserved its Oscar nomination for best foreign movie. It's composed of three separate yet ultimately related sections that double back in time. The first, "Words," is the most haunting. Kiril, a young Orthodox monk who has taken a vow of silence, is picking tomatoes as it begins to rain. His superior tells him to come up to the hilltop monastery. There is a sense of unchanging peace during the gorgeous chanting, while the camera picks out the ancient icons that give focus to the worshipers.

After Kiril retires to his cell, however, he discovers Zamira, a young Albanian girl in hiding from pursuers who believe she has killed someone in the village. Kiril cannot bring himself to betray the girl, and when she is discovered by his superior the next morning, both are expelled. They encounter Albanian soldiers who consider her a traitor for consorting with a Christian. …

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