Blesok no. 55, July-August, 2007
The Grandmothers of Revolution
Film by Petra Seliškar and Brand Ferro
There is a special place for documentary production in the Macedonian cinematography. Although it is accepted that screen production has bigger significance and more investments, documentary films have better rating in comparison of created values and received acknowledgment abroad. Here, as many times before, the huge importance of Manaki brothers should be stressed, for the stimulus they gave to the present Macedonian film-makers. Only one brief look at the documentary production in Macedonia asks for mentioning names: Arsenij Jovkov, Blagoja Pop-Stefanija, Blagoja Drnkov, Trajče Popov, Branko Gapo, Kočo Nedkov, Meto Petrovski, Aleksandar Gjurčinov, Laki Čemčev… and the authors of middle and young generation: Stole Popov, Mitko Panov, Aljoša Simjanovski, Maja Mladenovska, Marija Džidževa…
Thus, we are speaking of tradition, and even – to some extent – about Macedonian documentary school, and – certainly – about generation experience upon which the new film-makers build their projects.
Latest feature-length film The Grandmothers of Revolution is signed and produced by Petra Seliškar and Brand Ferro, co-produced by RTV Slovenia, Dream factory Macedonia, Kaos Amsterdam and Movimiento Nacional de Video Cuba.
Perhaps it is not appropriate to comment and write about a film not yet screened in Macedonia, yet there is a practice of so-called previews, which in certain cases proves to be valuable gesture. Especially if, according to the announcements, The Grandmothers of Revolution will be screened on the forthcoming Skopje film festival.
The authors of the film, Seliškar and Ferro, manage to transform their family – and intimate – tales into an epic story about pains of the modern world, to emphasize crucial points of universal existential and moral aspects; to touch World's fate through family's fate, all of the logic and all of the absurd of a human existence. Without bias, censorship, or applying makeup on the document, this film, through its Truth, makes us seriously think about our own Truths, forces us to confront our own dilemmas: what for, how much and how long a human life should be spanned. Thus the question: if everything depends on us or some other forces direct our life paths? That subtle interweaving of life stories and documentary film records marks the basic dimension of this film. Exceptionally shot (Brand Ferro), and even better edited (Filip Grčevski), The Grandmothers of Revolution is complemented by excellent music of Jane Kodžabašija and Project Zlust. Choice of archive materials is selective and attractive; therefore never exceed its function in the film.
Undeniable aesthetic values are that part of the film that most likely would be less stressed during the first watch, yet the narrative segment is what will attract viewer's attention at start. Maybe it would sound unpopular and old-fashioned to seek for the universal message of this film, yet it hovers, accessible and visible to everyone.
Perhaps the rare opportunity to have an insight in world's documentary production is the reason for being occasionally surprised by unexpected and exciting film as is The Grandmothers of Revolution. If during those 88 minutes your mood oscillates from laughter to discomfort, from compassion to exaltation, from aversion to love, then there is something VALUABLE in this movie.
Translated by: I. Isakovski