Cinematography belonging to the ex-Yugoslav countries is full of excellent movies, mostly dramas, comedies and war movies which realistically depict the situation, society and the way of living in these countries. Macedonia is no exception, with the interesting topics it deals with.
Through these movies you will learn about the country and its people, the problems they deal with, sometimes you will laugh and sometimes cry. You will definitely be intrigued to watch some others, too. This is the list of the 10 best Macedonian movies of all time after the fall of Yugoslavia.
Treto poluvreme (The Third Half, 2012)
This Macedonian movie is made in co-production with Serbia and the Czech Republic and it deals with Macedonian football during World War II. It also introduces us to the topic of Macedonian Jews who were being deported from Macedonia. It is a historical romantic drama that deals with love during wartime and a country’s passion for football.
The movie is set in 1941 in what is today North Macedonia and it tells the story of Kosta, a football player from Macedonia and Rebecca, a wealthy young Jewish woman who falls in love despite all the odds against them.
While the war is raging around the country’s borders, Macedonia is still intact and its people’s only preoccupation is one football club. But when Nazis start deporting Jews, Kosta and his friends slowly start to realize that their carefree days are gone.
Gypsy Magic (1997)
This comedy-drama was Macedonia’s submission for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film but was not accepted as a nominee. It is a romantic story about a gypsy family that lives on the periphery of Skopje, Macedonia’s capital. One of the locals there meets an Indian UNPROFOR physician who he believes is the solution to all their problems.
Set in a rural area, the movie depicts the warmth of the gypsy spirit, but everyone can identify themselves in some of its parts. It is a universal story about love and hope, a story that can be transferred to any city or any race, one that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.
Majki (Mothers, 2010)
This movie is notable for its combination of documentary and fiction. The director stated that he finds the connection between truth and fiction and documentary and drama very close and therefore he decided to introduce us to this kind of storytelling. The movie follows three stories and three aspects of life, set in a city, a deserted village and a small town in Macedonia.
In the first story, three girls report a flasher to the police, even though they haven’t seen it. In the second, three filmmakers meet a brother and a sister who haven’t spoken to each other in 16 years and in the third story a retired cleaning lady is found raped and murdered in a small town. After we get to know all the stories, fiction soon turns into a documentary.
Iscelitel (Secret Ingredient, 2017)
Another comedy-drama, this time about an underpaid train mechanic who gives his father some marijuana to ease his cancer pain. This doesn’t go as planned when he gets attacked by criminals who are in search of their drugs. His neighbors also start bothering him by demanding a recipe for the “healing” cake.
This black comedy was selected as the Macedonian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film but it didn’t get accepted.
A very well accepted action-adventure comedy, Bal-Can-Can tells the story of a Macedonian war deserter and his Italian blood-brother who go on a search for his dead mother-in-law who is wrapped up in a stolen carpet.
This search will take them all over the Balkans criminal underground and they will travel to Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro. This movie was the highest-grossing film to date in the Republic of Macedonia.
Iluzija (Mirage, 2004)
In this movie, we follow the story of a 13 year old boy Marko who is a very talented but abused schoolboy. Two mentors offer him help, but eventually let him down which ends up in a catastrophic change in the boy’s behavior. These harsh circumstances slowly transform him from a shy boy to a criminal.
Marko has musical talent and a bright future in front of him, but the constant neglect from his drunk father, abusive and promiscuous sister and a mother who simply doesn’t care only worsen his already difficult situation at school where he is constantly bullied. This movie shows how thin a line between a normal, successful life and a criminal one is.
Pankot ne e mrtov (Punk’s Not Dead, 2011)
This excellent black comedy was the Macedonian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film, but it did not get accepted. We follow the reunion of a punk band which begins when Mirsa decides to gather all his former members and persuade them to play for a multicultural happening in Debar.
His only wish is to play again so he wholeheartedly accepts this offer and with help from his girlfriend, he will try and find all his friends. This is a feel-good movie with a positive message, never to give up, especially when something is very important to us.
Balkanot ne e mrtov (Balkan Is Not Dead, 2013)
This drama tells the story of a Macedonian family from Bitola at the turn of the 20th century who tries to survive and remain together. We meet two sisters and a brother who are left alone after their father’s death. The older girl, Eleni is in love with the young Turkish cadet, but her father didn’t approve of this relationship so she dedicates her life to waiting.
Her brother and sister’s destinies are also heartbreaking and everything but nice. We will meet Eleni’s sister Andja’s fiance Damjan who is also her brother’s Duko best friend. But their relationship will be broken when he falls captive to the dangerous Osman who falls in love with Andja and is ready to do anything to make her his.
Do balcak (To the Hilt, 2014)
This is an action western movie that is set in Ottoman-ruled Macedonia. Another one that was selected as the entry for the Best Foreign Language Film but wasn’t accepted. These are the years after the Macedonian uprising in 1903, the years of the general collapse where we follow a love story between an idealist rebel, a Turkish officer, a rich man’s son and an open-minded European woman.
She is the cause of all the misfortunes and misunderstandings these three men will find themselves in since she is flirting with all of them. But there will be consequences much worse than she ever expected. This movie is a great insight into Macedonian constant search for identity and a slight parody where the East and the West are portrayed as two pretty different sides.
Golemata voda (The Great Water, 2004)
This movie was based on a children’s book written by Zivko Čingo in the 1970s. It talks about the difficult transition in Macedonia after World War II. The film goes from one time period to another and it starts in the present time, when Lem, now an old politician in the hospital, remembers his childhood in 1945.
He was brought to an “orphanage” where they used to put children of the enemies of the new regime. There he learns to adjust to the brainwashing of the new regime and at the same time becomes mesmerized by a charismatic new boy Isak. This movie deals with numerous topics, one of them talking about the depersonalization of children into political pawns.